In the United States there’s a hit-and-run crash every minute.
Between 2009 and 2016 the number of deaths associated with a hit-and-run crash increased by 60-percent, and according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2016 was a record year for hit-and-run deaths with 2,049.
“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said 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.”
Annually, since 2006 there have been an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes. About 65 percent of them have involved pedestrians or bicyclists. Overall, 20-percent of pedestrian deaths involved a hit-and-run driver.
“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.”
In Virginia and every other state it’s against the law to leave the scene of an crash.
AAA offered drivers the following tips in avoiding pedestrians:
- Be aware: Pedestrians may act unpredictably and can walk into the path of travel at any point.
- Be cautious: Look out for small children and be alert to areas where there are likely to be more pedestrians. These include school zones, playgrounds, bus stops and intersections.
- Be patient: When trying to pass a pedestrian or cyclist, give plenty of space and keep them in your line of sight.
- Be vigilant: Drivers should always yield to pedestrians, even if they walk into the road from an area other than a crosswalk.
Likewise, drivers involved in crashes should check others for injuries and call 911, while making sure flashers are on or warning signs are posted to alert other drivers.