Hit and run incidents are an unsettling — but all too common — facet of roadway transportation. From drunk driving offences (where the intoxicated party may flee for fear of consequences) to just plain negligence on the roads, these scenarios more than take their toll on motorists around the nation. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the numbers of people impacted by hit and run incidents, as well as what you should do if you find yourself in one of these unfortunate situations.
What Counts As A Hit And Run?
Before diving into the statistics, it might be helpful to define terms. For most, the “classic” example of a hit and run involves a car speeding through a light or stop sign, striking a vehicle (or even pedestrian), and then darting off before most can react. While this certainly qualifies, it’s not the only situation we’d call a hit and run.
In some cases, a hit and run might not involve bodily injury at all — such as cases where a motorist hits a parked car and drives off to avoid having to deal with the fallout. Either way, though, if there’s a collision and a party leaves the scene without providing their information, that’s a hit and run, and it’s (generally speaking) illegal.
What The Numbers Say
According to AAA’s research on hit and run crashes, an estimated 737,100 such incidents occurred in 2015 alone. As the fact sheet points out, that’s “a hit and run crash happening somewhere in the US every 43 seconds.” Add to those numbers 2,049 fatalities during the year, and saying that hit and run collisions are a serious problem starts to look like something of an understatement.
What’s more, the number of hit and run crashes (along with fatalities) was on an upward slope leading up to 2016, making these incidents seem all the more deadly. It’s important to know what to do in order to keep yourself safe.
First and foremost is prevention, so you’ll want to keep your wits about you at all times when driving. Circumstances beyond your control can occur, however, so it’s important to keep in mind that if you do hit someone, you are legally required to stop and help. It can be harrowing, for sure, but if an accident happens, keep your cool and deal with the situation accordingly.
If you are struck by another vehicle, again, it’s important to remain at the scene, even if you aren’t seriously injured. Collect as much information as you can, and make sure you know when to contact a personal injury lawyer in the event that you are hurt and need to follow up with legal action to deal with your situation post-accident.