Florida Ranks Top Three in Hit-and-Run Accidents
Florida finds itself at the top spot on a troubling list. The Sunshine State ranks alongside New Mexico and Louisiana in the top 3 states for hit-and-run accidents per capita. And a study conducted by the American Automobile Association found that from 2006 to 2016, nationwide rates of hit-and-run accidents have increased.
Across the country, there were 682,000 hit-and-runs each year over the decade-long period. In 2016, there were 2,049 deaths resulting from a hit-and-run, a 60 percent increase from 2009. Over this same time period, the annual rate of hit-and-run fatalities increased by 7.2 percent.
Here in Florida, there were 206 hit-and-run accidents involving at least one fatality in 2016. From 2006 to 2016, there were 1,814 such crashes.
Road safety can help to avoid collisions
To decrease your chances of being involved in an accident with pedestrians or bicyclists, who are especially vulnerable to injury or death when struck by a vehicle, follow these tips:
1. Be aware: Pedestrians may walk out into a street with very little warning.
2. Be cautious: Areas like school zones and bus stops are much more likely to have pedestrians, especially those in a rush. Look out for people, especially small children.
3. Be patient: Pedestrians and bicyclists should be given more space, and drivers need to pass them at a reduced speed.
4. Be vigilant: Drivers should always yield to pedestrians and cyclists, even those crossing in areas other than crosswalks or other designated areas.
If you are involved in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclist, don't leave the scene! Instead, follow these steps.
1. Assist the injured: Check for injured people and call 911.
2. Be visible: Make the scene visible to oncoming drivers and avoid further collisions.
3. Communicate: Call the police and file a report or visit your local police station if an officer doesn't arrive.
Hit-and-run accidents often involve alcohol, as one case we handled shows. A teenager was spending the night with a friend when he borrowed a bike to ride next door at 2:30 a.m. to get clean clothes he had left there. He sustained severe head trauma and died instantly when struck from behind by a car driven by a drunk driver. The driver drove nearly a mile down the road before returning and witnesses reported that if she knew that she had hit our client John, she would not have returned to the scene. The criminal case failed to find the driver guilty "beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt," as required but in the civil case, our client's family was awarded $1.5 million.
If you or someone you know was also injured or killed in a car accident contact us today.