According to the AAA Foundation for Safety, 2016 saw a record breaking number of fatalities due to hit and run accidents. Although most of us think of a hit and run as one car hitting another and then speeding away, most hit and run deaths involve pedestrians, bicyclists, and highway workers. With an average increase of 7.2 percent each year, there is no sign of a decline anytime soon.
While other factors do play into hit and run crashes, AAA research indicates that when compared to accidents occurring during other parts of the day, drivers are more likely to flee the scene between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. This suggests that early morning drivers may be attempting to conceal risky driving behaviors, such as drunk driving or driving without a license.
Although AAA’s findings on hit and run fatalities may seem alarming, the public should keep in mind that health officials have pushed for more walking and biking lanes but have not taken proper precautions to protect the people sharing the road with vehicles. The increased rate of pedestrian traffic combined with the increase of distracted drivers makes for a fatal mix.
The AAA reports that this is an epidemic that must be dealt with, yet findings indicate that the standard approach of increasing hit and run driver punishment does not seem to be a deterrent. However, one state leads the trend to change the focus from driver punishment to driver apprehension.
Colorado Hit and Run Driver Alert System
In January 2011, a Colorado valet driver was struck and fatally injured in a hit and run accident. The incident was witnessed by a taxi cab driver who assisted police in apprehending the driver. Since then, Colorado has made efforts to reduce the number of hit and runs by focusing on the apprehension of drivers who commit this crime. Through a public alert system called the Medina Alert, Colorado can quickly broadcast any reliable information about the vehicle through electronic highway signs and other media.
The program went into effect in December 2014, and the following criteria must be met before the alert can be broadcasted:
- The accident must be a hit and run
- Serious bodily injury is notably present
- A complete or partial license plate number is identified
- Make, color, and style of the suspect’s vehicle is known
Although no formal research has been done on the effectiveness of hit and run driver alert systems reducing the number of accident deaths, the first year the Medina Alert was implemented, Colorado apprehended 14 of 17 hit and run suspects. Other states are hoping to pass bills to get on board, and as of March 2018, New York City began broadcasting hit and run vehicle information via emails, text messages, and phone calls.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Pursue Justice for Victims of Hit and Run Accidents
If you or someone you love was injured in a hit and run accident, contact a Media car accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys can answer your questions and help you navigate the legal process while you focus on healing. To arrange a free personal consultation in one of our Media or West Chester, Pennsylvania offices, contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701 today. We represent accident victims in Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and the greater Philadelphia area.