AAA study: Hit-and-run crashes killed more than 2,000 people in 2016
BELLEVUE, Wash. — According to AAA there is an average of a little more than one hit-and-run crash in America every 60 second and in 2016 the crashes killed 2,049 people.
A new study by AAA shows the 2,049 deaths is the most ever and a 60 percent increase from 2009.
With the number of hit-and-run crashes on the rise, AAA is calling for drivers to be alert on the road in order to avoid a deadly crash and always remain on the scene if a crash occurs.
AAA researchers examined common characteristics of hit-and-run crashes and found that:
· — An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.
· — Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.
· — Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
· — Per capita, New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rates.
“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. 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.”
The report found that most victims of fatal hit-and-run crashes are pedestrians or bicyclists. Over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes, meanwhile just one percent of all driver fatalities in that same time period.
To decrease the chances of being involved in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclist, drivers should:
· — 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.
“It is every driver’s legal and moral responsibility to take necessary precautions to avoid hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist or another vehicle,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “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.”
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.
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