AAA report finds that hit-and-run deaths are soaring nationwide

This article looks at the rate of hit-and-run deaths and what the risk factors for such accidents are.

Everybody who drives knows - or should know - that fleeing the scene of an accident is both immoral and illegal. However, as ABC News reports, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that more Americans are doing just that. The study found that deaths caused by hit-and-run drivers have soared by an alarming 62 percent in recent years. While other types of motor vehicle accidents have also seen increases lately, the rise in hit-and-run accidents has been especially rapid and worrying.

Hit-and-run deaths reach record levels

The AAA report found that in 2016 a total of 2049 people were killed in hit-and-run accidents. Not only is that the highest figure ever recorded in a single year since the federal government began compiling data on hit-and-run accidents in 1975, it is also a 62 percent increase in such deaths since just 2009.

The states that had the highest per capita rates of hit-and-run deaths were New Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida. However, while North Carolina's rate wasn't as bad as those three states, it still ranked as having the 17th highest per capita hit-and-run death toll in the nation.

What are the risks?

Experts suspect that a confluence of factors are behind the rapid increase in hit-and-run deaths. Distracted driving combined with an increase in walking and cycling are both likely contributing causes to the rising death toll. However, the rise in hit-and-run accidents is still especially high and far outpaces the rise in distracted driving, drunk driving, and overall traffic deaths.

However, some drivers were identified as being more likely to flee the scene of an accident than others. Drunk driving was an especially reliable indicator of a motorist's likelihood to be involved in a hit-and-run. Drunk drivers are not only more likely to be involved in a crash, but their impaired judgement also leaves them more likely to flee the scene of that crash afterwards. Motorists who carry too little or no insurance were also more likely to leave the scene of an accident.

As for when and where such accidents occur, the study says most accidents occur between midnight and 4 a.m., in areas where there is a lot of pedestrian activity, and on streets with lower speed limits (since that is where pedestrians are more likely to cross).

Personal injury law

Anybody involved in a crash needs to understand that options are available to them. A personal injury attorney can help crash victims in a number of ways, not least of which is by showing them what types of compensation they may be entitled to and how to go about filing a claim.