New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a disturbing trend throughout the United States. Hit-and-run auto accidents and fatalities were on the rise across the country, causing legislators in some states to consider toughening laws against such behavior following a crash.
Some lawmakers called the hit-and-run trend a plague. Reports say that almost half of all accidents that occurred in Los Angeles involved a driver fleeing the scene, and data from NHTSA showed that fatal hit-and-runs increased from 2009’s total of 1,274 to 1,393 in 2010 and 1,449 in 2011. Even more telling was the fact that, during a period that these incidents rose by 13.7 percent, total traffic deaths fell by 4.5 percent.
An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that roughly one out of five pedestrian deaths in the years surveyed were from accidents where drivers fled the scene. The reports also showed that 60 percent of hit-and-run fatalities involved the death of a pedestrian. The Foundation’s CEO noted that alcohol was a major part of the problem as well. This was especially obvious when it was the drivers who had been drinking. He said that being alert as pedestrians is one thing everyone can do as a society to combat this deadly trend.
The changes in the law may be to protect pedestrians from such accidents. Many, however, are unavoidable, and an auto accident caused by a negligent driver may result in serious injuries or death. Individuals who have been injured or who have lost a loved one to such an incident may seek compensation within the court system.
Source: USA Today, “Fatal hit-and-run crashes on rise in U.S.“, Larry Copeland, November 10, 2013