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Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents are a serious problem on our roads. They happen when a driver is involved in a collision and chooses to flee the scene instead of stopping to take responsibility for their actions. These types of accidents can have devastating consequences for the victims and their loved ones, both physically and emotionally. Not only that, but hit and run accidents also put the driver at risk of severe legal penalties.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hit and run accidents are alarmingly common. In the United States, over 682,000 hit and run accidents occurred in 2019, resulting in 2,000 deaths. These accidents made up around 17% of all fatal crashes that year. These statistics show that hit and run accidents are a significant problem on our roads and that it’s vital to raise awareness about the issue. The NHTSA also reports that pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities are disproportionately likely to be caused by hit and run accidents, with over 20% of pedestrian fatalities and over 11% of bicyclist fatalities being caused by hit and run drivers. Data shows that hit and run accidents are more prevalent in urban areas and during nighttime hours. Understanding these statistics is crucial in order to take action to reduce the number of hit and run accidents and fatalities on our roads.

Causes of Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including intoxication, fear of legal consequences, and a lack of knowledge of what to do after an accident. Intoxication, whether it be from alcohol or drugs, is a leading cause of hit and run accidents. When a driver is under the influence, they may be more likely to flee the scene of an accident in order to avoid getting caught. In addition, fear of legal consequences can also be a major factor in hit and run accidents. A driver may choose to flee the scene because they are worried about going to jail, losing their driver’s license, or facing hefty fines. Finally, lack of knowledge of what to do after an accident can also lead to hit and run accidents. A driver may be panicked and unsure of the steps they need to take to report the accident, or they may be unaware of the legal requirements for remaining at the scene of an accident. Regardless of the cause, hit and run accidents are a serious problem on our roads and it’s important for everyone to be aware of the consequences and to take action to prevent them.

Intoxication

One of the most common causes of hit and run accidents is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In many cases, the driver is aware that they are impaired and may be more likely to flee the scene of an accident in order to avoid getting caught. According to the NHTSA, over 30% of hit and run fatalities involve a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.

Fear of legal consequences 

In some cases, a driver may choose to flee the scene of an accident because they fear the legal consequences of their actions. They may be worried about going to jail, losing their driver’s license, or facing hefty fines. In some cases, the driver may be an illegal immigrant and may be afraid of being deported if they stay at the scene of the accident.

Lack of knowledge of what to do after an accident

In some cases, a driver may flee the scene of an accident simply because they don’t know what to do. They may be panicked and unsure of the steps they need to take to report the accident. They may also be unaware of the legal requirements for remaining at the scene of an accident.

It’s important to note that regardless of the reasons for hit and run, it’s illegal and can have severe consequences for the driver and the victims. Whether it’s due to intoxication, fear of legal consequences or lack of knowledge, the best course of action is always to stop and stay at the scene of the accident, call emergency services and wait for the police to arrive.

Consequences of Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents can result in serious criminal charges and penalties, including fines, jail time, community service, and the revocation of a driver’s license. In addition, hit and run drivers can also be held liable in civil court for any damages or injuries they cause to the victim, this can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Criminal charges and penalties

Hit and run accidents are considered criminal acts and can result in serious criminal charges and penalties. Depending on the state, hit and run charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Penalties for hit and run can include fines, jail time, community service, and the revocation of a driver’s license. In some cases, hit and run accidents that result in death can even lead to charges of vehicular manslaughter or murder.

Civil liability

In addition to criminal charges, hit and run drivers can also be held liable in civil court for any damages or injuries they cause. Victims of hit and run accidents can sue the driver for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Even if the driver is not caught, victims may still be able to pursue compensation through their own insurance or through the uninsured motorist coverage.

Impact on the victim and their loved ones

Hit and run accidents can have a significant impact on the lives of the victims and their loved ones. In addition to physical injuries, victims may also suffer from emotional trauma, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They may also experience financial difficulties due to medical expenses and lost wages. The loved ones of victims may also be impacted, as they may have to care for the victim or may suffer emotionally due to the loss of a loved one.

Prevention and Safety Tips

What to do if you’re involved in a hit and run accident: If you’re involved in a hit and run accident as a driver or a pedestrian, it’s important to stay calm and take the following steps:

  • Call 911 and report the accident to the police.
  • Get the license plate number and a description of the vehicle and driver if possible.
  • Take note of any witnesses or surveillance cameras in the area.
  • Seek medical attention for any injuries.
  • Contact your insurance company to report the accident.

How to Avoid Hit and Run Accidents as a Driver

To avoid hit and run accidents as a driver, it’s important to always obey traffic laws and be aware of your surroundings. Additionally, the following tips can help:

  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Be alert and avoid distractions while driving.
  • Slow down in areas where there may be pedestrians or bicycles.
  • Always be prepared to stop in case of an emergency.

What to Do If You Witness a Hit and Run Accident

If you witness a hit and run accident, it’s important to take the following steps:

  • Call 911 and report the accident to the police.
  • Get the license plate number and a description of the vehicle and driver if possible.
  • Take note of any witnesses or surveillance cameras in the area.
  • Offer assistance to any injured parties.
  • Cooperate with the police and provide any information you have about the accident.

In conclusion, hit and run accidents can be prevented by obeying traffic laws, being aware of your surroundings, and taking the necessary steps if you’re involved in or witness a hit and run accident. Remember that hit and run accidents are illegal and can have severe consequences for everyone involved. It’s always best to stay at the scene, call emergency services and wait for the police to arrive.

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