While all traffic accidents leave victims feeling discouraged, hit and runs are some of the most disheartening. A hit and run accident is defined as any incident in which the driver of a motor vehicle purposely flees the scene without providing contact information. These types of crashes typically occur when one vehicle hits another and speeds away, or when the driver of a vehicle crashes into a parked vehicle and flees the scene. Each hit and run situation leaves victims in an alarming situation.
Unfortunately, the number of hit and run crashes occurring in the U.S. are increasing. Statistics from the NHTSA show an upward trend from 2009 through 2011 numbering 13.7%. Perhaps more concerning is that this increase in hit and runs comes at a time that overall motor vehicle accident numbers are decreasing. So, the percentage of automobile accidents involving hit and runs is higher than ever, in spite of fewer vehicle crashes overall. 1/5 of U.S. pedestrian fatalities occurs as a result of a hit and run crash.
Why Are Hit and Run Numbers Increasing?
The most probable reason for this increase in hit and run numbers Is that more motorists are traveling uninsured. Although it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle without insurance, the Insurance Research Council reports approximately 30 million uninsured motorists in America. Uninsured motorists oftentimes choose to flee the scene rather than take responsibility for their actions in an effort to stay below the radar of law enforcement.
Steps to Take After a Hit and Run
If you are the victim of a hit and run crash, stay calm and gather as much information as possible. If you are able to identify the make, model, or license plate number of the vehicle that fled the scene, there is a higher chance for law enforcement officials to locate that vehicle. Identifying witnesses to the crash may also be helpful, so obtain names and contact information of those who saw the crash. Like in any auto accident, you should take photos of the scene and your vehicle, as well as noting the time, location, and damages. Whether or not the at-fault party fled the scene, it is important that you file a police report for any automobile accident. This will make the claims process easier, even if the at-fault driver is not located.
As hit and runs become more common, it is important for drivers to be aware of the dangers and do everything possible to protect themselves.