While 2020 saw a decreased number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida, the number of deaths from these accidents actually increased by nearly 20 percent.
As a result, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles launched a new initiative to reduce hit-and-run accidents in the state. It was called the “Stay at the Scene” campaign, and it launched in time for February, which happens to be Hit-and-Run Awareness Month.
The goal of the campaign was to educate drivers about their responsibilities if they’re involved in a crash, and the penalties associated with fleeing to the scene. It also provided education o others about how they can report information they have about accidents to the police.
The rules in Florida
Florida drivers are required to stop at the scene of any crash resulting in property damage, injury or death. Drivers who leave the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death face felony charges, and if convicted could be sentenced to prison and years-long license revocations.
Staying at the scene of an accident isn’t just the morally correct thing to do, it also helps victims to recover compensation in their cases. Accident victims need information from the other drivers involved in a case to begin the insurance claims process.
The state agency’s numbers revealed most of these accidents occur at night or in low-light conditions. Approximately 85 percent of hit-and-runs analyzed in a five-year period occurred at night, dusk or dawn. These accidents were especially dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, who accounted for more than half the hit-and-run deaths in Florida in 2020.
The state also urged pedestrians and cyclists to wear reflectors or use lights if out in low-light conditions.
For more information about the steps you can take if you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run accident, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.