As you may already know, a hit-and-run accident is a crash where one of the drivers involved flees the scene, leaving before the police arrive. A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that there is an average of one hit-and-run crash per minute across the United States. Hit-and-run accidents have become more common in recent years, and, as we’ll see, hit-and-run deaths are higher than they have ever been.
Most of the victims of hit-and-run accidents are pedestrians and bicyclists, so we’ll also add a little information on how drivers can avoid accidents with these people.
The Numbers on Hit-and-Run
The study from AAA found that the number of hit-and-run crashes in the United States has increased by an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009. When it comes to fatalities, the 2016 total was 60 percent higher than it had been in 2009. The total number of hit-and-run deaths in 2016 was 2,049—the highest number of hit-and-run deaths ever.
Most of the people killed in hit-and-run accidents (65 percent) are either pedestrians or bicyclists. Bicyclists and pedestrians are far less protected from accidents, leading to much more severe injuries when they occur. As many as 20 percent of pedestrian deaths in the last 10 years were due to hit-and-run accidents. This means pedestrian deaths are far more likely to be hit-and-runs than driver deaths are—while 20 percent of pedestrian deaths were hit-and-runs, only one percent of driver deaths were.
Avoiding Pedestrians and Bicyclists to Prevent More Accidents
Pedestrians and bicyclists can be difficult to predict. It’s important for drivers to remember that pedestrians can walk into the road anywhere. Pedestrians often cross busy roads at points other than crosswalks, and some will even try to run across highways and interstates. So the main safeguard against accidents is alertness, especially in areas where pedestrians are to be expected. This includes school zones, playgrounds, intersections, and bus stops.
The law requires that drivers yield the right of way to pedestrians. This is true even if the pedestrian walks into the road from somewhere other than a crosswalk. Pay attention and do your best to leave as much space as possible between your vehicle and any pedestrians who show up in the road.
If you do happen to hit a pedestrian, remain on the scene. Many people feel an urge to flee in a moment like that. Remember: drivers who leave the scene of an accident can be charged for failure to stop and render aid.
Questions About Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Let us help you determine whether an injury you or a loved one suffered in an accident may qualify for compensation under an auto accident claim. Talk to our hit-and-run accident lawyers about our clients’ average settlements for accidents to better understand what your case might be worth. The Khalidi Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience helping injured persons in the Tucson area get the closure they deserve. If you have suffered injury or lost a loved one as a result of an accident, we can help.