Hit-and-Run Crashes, Deaths on the Rise: AAA Foundation

"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."

Hit-and-run crashes are increasing on U.S. roads, that the point that more than one occurs every minute, according to recent research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Hit-and-run crashes caused 2,049 deaths during 2016, the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase since 2009, according to AAA, which is urging drivers to be alert on the road and always remain on the scene if a crash occurs.

The organization reported that its 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, and deaths due to them have risen by an average of 7.2 percent annually since 2009. Nearly 65 percent of people who died in hit-and-run crashes were pedestrians or bicyclists.

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."

During the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes. AAA encourages 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."

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety was established in 1947 by AAA. It is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization.

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