Who are the most common perpetrators and victims in a hit-and-run accident? What steps are being undertaken to reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents in the United States? Hit-and-run accidents are exceedingly common, and in 2015, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recorded just over 737,000 in the United States. Young males under the influence and driving older vehicles are the most common perpetrators, while the most common victims are pedestrians. Nationwide, law enforcement, insurers, and others are working hard to solve this deadly serious problem through enhanced enforcement, more significant penalties, and public awareness campaigns.
Incidents and Fatalities Are Increasing
In 2006, there were just under 733,000 hit-and-run accidents in the United States. That number declined significantly starting in 2009 and through 2013 when it reached 640,000. However, by 2014, that number rose to just under 704,000 and rose again to 737,000 in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, the number of people who die in these accidents has followed suit. In 2006, 1,772 people died. By 2015, that number rose to 1,819. In 2016, it is estimated that 2,049 people died.
Profile of Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents
Most hit-and-run accidents involve pedestrians. Nationwide, roughly one in five pedestrian fatalities involve a hit-and-run driver. Conversely, only 1% of motor vehicle occupant fatalities involve a hit-and-run motorist. Roughly 70% of victims are male. Interestingly, the age of the victim also correlates to the likelihood of identifying the guilty driver. When children between 6 to 15 are killed, the driver is identified more than 60% of the time. Conversely, if the victim is between 31 and 55 years old, that drops to 39%.
Common Crash Characteristics
Lighting, road layout, and crash location significantly impact hit-and-run crash risk. In low-lit conditions, including dusk, dawn, and evening hours, areas where poor visibility is prevalent, or in areas where pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic is light or non-existent, the risk increases dramatically. These conditions can create a sense that the crime was unwitnessed and that the individual can get away before being seen.
It is a crime in Kansas and most places to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Kansas statutes establish stiff penalties, including fines and imprisonment for motorists who leave the scene of an injury-causing accident. Even so, many motorists take the risk they'll get away with the crime. Nationwide, young males with a history of drunk driving offenses are the most common perpetrators of hit-and-run accidents. Most have lower-incomes, and they are between two and nine times more likely to fail a drug or alcohol test following a fatality-causing accident.
Penalties in the US for hit-and-run accidents causing injury or fatality range from six months to 30 years. Between 2012-2017, more than a dozen states passed new laws increasing prison time, fines, and the length of license suspension for hit-and-run collisions. Even so, the data shows that these deterrents are doing little to stem the flow of casualties caused by hit-and-run drivers on American roads.
Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Brad Pistotnik is a hit-and-run accident attorney who represents car accident victims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas. When perpetrators flee and are caught, we help hold them accountable for their actions. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.