A study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that hit and run accidents are rising. In fact, they are at an all-time high since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, started keeping track of these accidents in 1975. Last year there were more than 2,000 fatalities reported nationwide as a result of hit and run accidents. That is a 60% increase since 2009.
The increase in hit and runs is part of an overall increase in fatal crashes over the last several years. Not surprisingly, the majority of fatalities occur to pedestrians and bicyclists. The rise in deaths may be due in part to an increase in the incidences of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Continues to be a Problem
Distracted driving continues to be a problem for drivers in California and across the country. There are three main types of distracted driving. These include taking your mind off driving, taking your hands off the wheel and taking your eyes off the road. Distractions may include a variety of actions such as eating, talking to passengers, reading, and grooming. The most common cause of distracted driving is the use of cell phones for texting while driving.
Texting and cell phone use while behind the wheel are the most serious forms of distracted driving. That is because they actually cause all three types of distractions at once. You take your attention away from driving, your eyes off the road, and your hands off the wheel to read and send text messages. Texting while driving is illegal, but it is still a common occurrence.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents are often serious, especially when they involve a pedestrian or bicyclist. A driver is required to stop if he or she is involved in an accident. Sometimes, however, a driver fails to stop. This can happen for a variety of reasons. The driver may not have a valid license, may not have insurance, or may be wanted on a warrant. Other times, the driver could be driving while intoxicated or driving while distracted.
Fortunately, in the majority of hit and run accidents, the police eventually track down the vehicle and driver. Often there is video surveillance or there are witnesses to the event that provide details to law enforcement. When the driver is located, he or she may face a variety of charges such as leaving the scene of an accident. The driver is responsible for negligent driving and is held liable for any medical costs and damages that occurred due to the accident.
If you were the victim of a hit and run crash there are several things you should do. First, call police and report the accident. Seek medical attention, even if you do not feel hurt. Many injuries become apparent later and some of them could be life-threatening. Head injuries are among the most common types of severe injuries that are reported along with broken bones and neck and back injuries.
If you were hurt in a hit and run crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact the legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss your accident today.