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Texas Ranks 8th In The Country Among States With The Highest Hit-And-Run Crashes

More than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

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.

Hit-and-Run deaths reached a record high, according to a AAA press release. Texas ranks as having the eighth highest rate of hit-and-run crashes in the nation.

2,049 deaths occurred from hit-and-run crashes during 2016, that number is both a record high and a 60 percent increase from 2009, according to the release. Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.

AAA researchers examined common characteristics in hit-and-run crashes and found that an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.

The report found that 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists. 

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 advises drivers to:

  • 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.”

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.

If a driver is involved in a crash, they should never leave the scene and follow the steps below:

  • Assist the injured– Check for injured people and call 911.
  • Be visible– Make sure that the scene is visible to approaching drivers. If possible, move vehicles out of the path of traffic, and use hazard flashers, flares, and reflective triangles. Find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive, if needed.
  • Communicate– Call the police and file a report. If the police do not come to the scene, you can file a report by visiting a local police department or your automobile insurance agency.

Currently, every state has laws in place making it illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee the scene. State penalties vary based on the type of crash, according to the release. 

AAA encourages drivers to educate themselves about specific hit-and-run laws in their state and remain alert on the road to prevent crashes from occurring.

“By working together, we can bring awareness and identify potential solutions to reduce hit-and-run fatalities,” continued Dr. Yang. “We can’t forget that cars can be deadly when they come into contact with pedestrians, cyclists or other cars. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to stay alert, be aware of our surroundings and always stay on the scene if involved in a crash.”

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