Hit-and-run accidents: a growing danger

Hit-and-run crashes pose a real danger to drivers and pedestrians, and that danger continues to grow.

For those in Connecticut who have ended up in a car crash, the situation can be startling and distressing. When one of the drivers flees the scene of the accident, an unfortunate event can become even more troublesome. While to some the idea of evading responsibility for something that could potentially cause serious harm to the people involved seems insane, the surprising thing is that it actually happens all too often. In fact, the number of hit-and-runs has risen in the last five years.

What is being done to stop hit-and-runs?

There have been crackdowns in response to the nationwide epidemic. Connecticut has its own tough laws, while other states have recently written new ones. In Colorado, it is now a felony offense to injure somebody in a hit-and-run. A person who flees an accident in Arizona will automatically get a five year suspension of their driver's license. Florida is even stricter, with a mandatory jail sentence of at least three years. A prison sentence of up to 20 years can be issued to somebody who leaves the scene of a crash in Texas.

How much has the threat increased?

While hit-and-runs are a problem in every state, it is California which seems to struggle the most, and in particular, the city of Los Angeles has some of the more striking statistics. USA Today states that while the national rate of hit-and-run crashes involving a driver leaving the scene is 11 percent, the rate in LA was 48 percent in 2009. Every year the city has seen about 20,000 hit-and-runs.

A University of Vermont Economics chairwoman points out that in most of these cases, a drunk driver was involved. The make things worse, more than half of the deaths from a hit-and-run accidents were pedestrians. One in every five pedestrian deaths on roadways are due to hit-and-run collisions. From 2009 to 2011, there was a 13.7 percent increase in hit-and-run deaths.

When is the danger greatest?

The time at which people are out on the road has an effect on the likelihood of a hit-and-run, with the late hours between 9am and 3pm being the time period during which about 47 percent of fatal hit-and-runs happen, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Sunday, Saturday, or Friday are the days when these crashes usually happen. It seems that it's not just LA where pedestrians are being killed, as throughout the nation it is estimated that 6 out of every 10 hit-and-run fatalities are pedestrians.

A hit-and-run can unexpectedly and dramatically harm somebody in Connecticut and leave them with a lot of pain, not to mention costly medical expenses. It may be possible to be financially compensated in such cases. A lawyer in the nearby area may be able to help review the options.