Accident law

Deadly Hit-and-Run Accidents On the Rise

Recent studies reveal a concerning trend throughout the United States: Deadly hit-and-run accidents are on the rise. A terrifying reality on American roads, these crashes often leave victims with severe physical injuries and emotional trauma, and the added stress of a missing driver can complicate the legal process significantly. 

Statistics on Hit-and-Run Accidents Paint a Grim Picture

A report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2023 notes a statistically significant increase in hit-and-run fatality accidents between 2020 and 2021. Nationwide, there were 2,596 deadly crashes involving hit-and-run drivers in 2020, increasing by 11% to 2,872 in 2022. 

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that more than 60% of deadly hit-and-run crashes involve pedestrians. In a span of just 10 years (between 2012 and 2021), fatal hit-and runs rose a whopping 89.4%. 

The highest share of deadly hit-and-run accidents from 2012 and 2021 occurred in California. Crash numbers in the Golden State were followed by those in Nevada and New Mexico.  

Why Are Fatal Hit-and-Run Accidents Increasing?

Several factors might be contributing to the rise in deadly hit-and-run accidents. Many experts suggest that post-pandemic driving behaviors have played a significant role in the increase. The NHTSA reports that after the pandemic started, many drivers began taking more risks. Post-pandemic changes in the United States that may lead to drivers leaving the scene include:

  • Impaired Driving: Many Americans increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic to cope with anxiety and stress. The increase led to a rise in impaired drivers getting behind the wheel. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to flee the scene of an accident to avoid facing DUI charges.
  • Distracted Driving: Americans have become increasingly distracted by their phones and other types of technology while driving, and the numbers don’t seem to be decreasing, even after life has become more stable. Drivers preoccupied with texting, talking on the phone, or using navigation apps may be less aware of their surroundings and more likely to panic after an accident.
  • Increased Penalties: Increased penalties for breaking traffic laws are designed to reduce the number of violations that occur on America’s roadways, but that’s not always the case. In fact, drivers might flee the scene of an accident due to fear of stricter penalties for traffic violations or a lack of proper insurance coverage.
  • Reckless Driving: America has experienced an overall increase in reckless driving behaviors, like speeding and aggressive maneuvers. These can lead to more accidents and a higher likelihood of drivers fleeing the scene.

Reducing the Number of Hit and Run Fatalities

The rise in hit-and-run fatalities demands our attention. Key strategies to help reduce these accidents might include public awareness campaigns, increased penalties for hit-and-run offenses, and DUI enforcement to decrease the number of impaired drivers on the road. 

Public Awareness Campaigns

It’s important to educate drivers about the consequences of hit-and-run accidents and the importance of staying at the scene, even in minor collisions. Launching public awareness campaigns that highlight the dangers of hit-and-run accidents may prove to be one of the most effective ways to deter drivers leaving the scene of car accidents.

Increased Penalties

If the penalties for causing an accident are greater than the penalties for leaving the scene of a car accident, drivers may be more tempted to take their chances. Increased penalties for hit-and-run offenses, emphasizing the severity of leaving the scene of an accident, discourages drivers from fleeing due to fear of punishment.

DUI Enforcement

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a major factor in hit-and-run accidents. Expanding the use of ignition interlock systems for DUI offenders, ramping up DUI checkpoints, and enforcing stricter penalties to deter drunk driving could have a substantial impact on the number of hit-and-run accidents.

Challenges in Hit-and-Run Injury Cases

Hit-and-run cases pose a unique set of challenges for law enforcement and accident victims seeking compensation. While a lawyer for car accidents may be able to help victims collect compensation from other sources of recovery, without identifying the at-fault driver, securing insurance coverage for medical bills and lost wages becomes extremely difficult. 

Seeking Justice After a Hit-and-Run Accident: You’re Probably Going to Need a Lawyer

Even in hit-and-run cases in which the driver cannot be found, legal options may exist to help victims recover compensation for their losses. An experienced attorney for car accidents can provide invaluable assistance in these situations.

Your lawyer will start by working with law enforcement to gather any available evidence, such as surveillance footage or witness statements, that might help identify the at-fault driver. Your attorney will also collect all relevant documents, including police reports and medical records. 

If the at-fault driver who left the scene of the accident cannot be identified or located, your lawyer will investigate whether other routes to recovery are available. For instance, many car insurance policies offer uninsured motorist coverage, which can provide compensation in hit-and-run accidents. If other factors besides the missing driver’s negligence contributed to your accident, you may also be able to file a claim or lawsuit against the liable parties. 

If the driver is identified, or other parties are determined to be liable for your injuries, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit to help you recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Shafiq Ch

Shafiq Ch is SEO service provider and writer at NCVLE (New Citizens Viability Law Enforcement). He discusses SEO, guest posts, backlinks, and on-page content issues. He is helping lawyers to rank their sites on the top pages of SERPs.

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