VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – More than one hit-and-run death crash occurs every minute on roads in the United States, and since 2009, a 60 percent increase in deaths resulting from these crashes has occurred.
According to a report from AAA, hit-and-run crashes resulted in 2,049 deaths in 2016, the highest number on record, and most victims of these crashes are pedestrians or bicyclists.
“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem.”
Over the last ten years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and run crashes, compared to just one percent of all driver fatalities in that same time period the study found.
To decrease the chances of being involved in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclists, AAA suggest that drivers be aware, be cautious, be patient and be vigilant.
“It is every driver’s legal and moral responsibility to take necessary precautions to avoid hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist or another vehicle,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers- whether they caused the crash or not.”
According to AAA, if a driver is involved in a crash, they should never leave the scene and follow the steps below:
- Assist the injured– Check for injured people and call 911.
- Be visible– Make sure that the scene is visible to approaching drivers. If possible, move vehicles out of the path of traffic, and use hazard flashers, flares, and reflective triangles. Find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive, if needed.
- Communicate– Call the police and file a report. If the police do not come to the scene, you can file a report by visiting a local police department or your automobile insurance agency.