Drivers are susceptible to a variety of hazards, both on and off the road, including traffic collisions and hit and run accidents. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the US, just behind conditions including heart disease and cancer. Although there are numerous categories of accidents, some that don’t even involve cars, many of these accidents are indeed directly related to the operation of a motor vehicle.
What Is A Hit And Run Accident?
A hit and run accident is used to describe accidents involving drivers that leave the scene before police arrive, and don’t provide any of their insurance or contact information. These accidents can occur either when you are driving, or when your car is left unattended while parked. Pedestrians can become victims of hit and run accidents too.
Statistics for Hit And Run Accidents
According to federal data, the number of hit and run crashes in the USA rose more than 13% from 2009 to 2011. Further, one in five pedestrian fatalities were hit and run related.
Per the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 11% of all reported accidents to police involve at least one driver leaving the scene of an accident. Upwards of 1,500 people die annually due to hit and run accidents. A majority of these accidents occur late at night on weekends.
Top States with the Most Hit And Run Accidents
- North Dakota
Leaving the Scene of an Accident: Exploring the Reasons
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to travel anywhere without encountering at least one dangerous driver while out on the road. Granted, there are probably more distractions behind the wheel today than there were when automobiles were first invented.
For instance, risky practices like texting while driving certainly weren’t as prevalent when those first cars were rolled-off of the assembly line. From eating a meal while driving to talking on a smartphone, distracted driving is just one of the common reasons for hit and run accidents.
But, what else makes a person a dangerous driver? Well, it shouldn’t be too surprising that many of the most treacherous driving habits often lead to unfortunate incidents resulting in drivers leaving the scene of an accident. A majority of the time, drivers involved in hit and run accidents aren’t even supposed to be operating a motor vehicle because they are either improperly licensed; or lack insurance.
Another common reason for hit and run accidents is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those driving under the influence will typically flee the scene of an accident because they fear the consequences they will face if they would stay until the police arrive.
Speeding ranks just below drunk driving in regard to causing traffic fatalities. If you notice a common theme among many of these reasons for hit and run accidents, then you are not alone. They are all illegal and involve negligence that could result in drivers being charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Leaving the scene of an accident offers them a way out of avoiding their responsibilities. If you are ever involved in an auto accident, then you should pull over to the shoulder of the road, if you are safely able to, and attempt to exchange insurance information with the other driver. In the unfortunate event that they leave the scene of the accident, here are some suggested steps to take:
- Record the license plate number and the vehicle’s make/model.
- Contact the police and report a hit and run accident.
- Complete an accident report.
- Inform your insurance company.
Maintaining Financial Responsibility
If you plan to own and operate a car, then you are legally obligated to maintain proper insurance. Drivers caught without car insurance are subjected to financial responsibility laws, including SR-22 or 44 filings, that are inconvenient and expensive.
Also known as uninsured motorist coverage, hit and run accident insurance often covers medical expenses and car repairs related to the accident.
In the unfortunate event that you are injured in an accident and the driver flees the scene, then you can seek to file felony hit and run charges against them, an offense that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and a fine up to $20,000. Some other recommend steps you can take include filing a hit and run claim with their insurance company and filing a civil lawsuit in the court system.