Hit and Run Deaths Hit Record High: What You Can do to Reduce It.

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The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is urging drivers to be more cautious about pedestrians and bicyclists on the road, saying the number of hit-and-run fatalities has hit a record high. There are many potential ways to resolve a hit and run unattended case that can help you avoid a criminal conviction.

Statistics:

  • According to AAA, there is an average of a little more than one hit-and-run crash in America every 60 seconds.
  • In 2016 hit-and-run crashes killed 2,049 people.
  • Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
  • An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.
  • Hit-and-run fatalities have been growing by an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.

Possible motivation:

Sometimes the motivation to flee is obvious, such as when a drunk driver with a criminal record does not want to go to jail or when the driver in uninsured. However, for less severe cases, such as those where only property damage has occurred, it is less clear why someone would put themselves in legal jeopardy by fleeing the scene.

Some research says that drivers likely experience a flood of emotions including fear, shame and guilt, which overwhelm their sense of self-control. Those emotions can be made worse by alcohol, a factor in about 30 percent of traffic fatalities nationally.

Washington State Law:

Currently, every state has laws that make it illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee the scene. State penalties vary depending on the type of crash. A Washington State hit and run unattended charge is a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by up to a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. A conviction for hit and run unattended will not suspend or revoke your driver’s license but may increase your insurance costs.

Reducing the chance of hitting a pedestrian:

  • Be cautious around areas where people are more likely to be by the road. These include places such as playgrounds, school zones, bus stops, and intersections, or populated areas such as stadiums and malls.
  • Be patient and give bicyclists plenty of room on the side of the road. It is best to wait until it’s fully safe to pass, for both you and the biker, than to zoom by recklessly because you are in a rush.
  • Look for J-walkers. Although pedestrians should always use crosswalks and marked areas when crossing, this is not always the case. Drivers should yield even when someone is crossing recklessly.

If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident and have questions about your case or are not sure what the steps you should take next, contact an attorney at Elsner Law Firm today for a free case evaluation and discover the benefits a personal injury lawyer can bring to your case.

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