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Hit-and-run fatal car crashes rising

Evansville residents may be concerned to hear that every 43 seconds, a hit-and-run crash takes place in this country. These car accidents and related deaths reached record levels in 2016, according to a recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

There were 1,980 deadly hit-and-run car accidents that year in this county that caused 2,049 deaths. This is the highest number of deaths or accidents since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began compiling these statistics. This country also had higher than average rates than other developed nations. Indiana suffered 45 hit-and-run crashes that involved at least one fatality in 2016. This was the highest rate over a 10-year period.

A hit-and-run crash occurs when at least one person involved in the accident flees before offering any or sufficient assistance to other involved people in the crash or does not properly report the accident. These accidents can increase the severity of injuries, because of the delays with rendering medical care to victims.

This report also revealed that 1,398 accidents involved victims who were not vehicle occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, 20 percent of pedestrian deaths involved a hit-and-run driver over the last 30 years.

Generally, there is less likelihood that this type of auto accident will occur where there are more potential witnesses on heavily-travelled roads, better lighting or other increased visibility conditions. However, areas with more pedestrian traffic increase the likelihood of these accidents. Fatal crashes are also more likely on roads with lower speed limits.

About half of all hit-and-run drivers in this country are eventually identified. Drivers are more likely to be young males with a prior history of drunk driving convictions. They generally drive older cars.

Motivations for fleeing this accident are sometimes obvious, such as a drunk driver with a criminal record who is avoiding a jail sentence or a motorist who does not have a valid license. However, drivers may also flee if they believe they are at fault for an accident or if they believe accident was not sufficiently serious.

People injured in hit-and-run accidents, or their families if the person was killed, may feel like their situation is hopeless. However, it is possible to track down hit-and-run drivers. By holding these drivers accountable for their actions, hit-and-run accident victims may receive the financial compensation they need to recover from the accident.

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "Hit-and-run crashes: Prevalence, contributing factors and countermeasures," Accessed April 30, 2018

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