Florida Drivers Reminded: Stay at the Scene of a Crash
The Florida Highway Patrol is recognizing Hit and Run Awareness Month in February and reminding all motorists to stay at the scene when involved in a crash.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol are recognizing Hit and Run Awareness Month in February and have reminded all drivers they must stay at the scene after being involved in a crash. In partnership with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, and Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida and encourage individuals to anonymously report information to solve hit-and-run investigations.
"All motorists involved in a crash have the responsibility to stay at the scene," DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. "Leaving the scene of a crash may be deadly for those who are hit and ensures that the driver will face more severe penalties. Individuals with information on hit-and-run crashes are encouraged to report any tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers."
Since 2014, in about 25 percent of all Florida crashes every year, a driver leaves the scene, according to FHP. During 2017, there were 98,225 hit-and-run crashes in Florida with 177 fatalities.
Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property that results in injury or death. Leaving the scene of a crash is a felony and a driver, when convicted, will have his or her license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. "It is your responsibility to remain at the scene and immediately report the crash to law enforcement," said Florida Highway Patrol Director Col. Gene S. Spaulding. "You should do your best to provide immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians that may have been injured in the crash and wait for emergency first responders to arrive."
Of the 177 hit-and-run fatalities in 2017, more than 100 cases involved pedestrians and bicycles. During 2017, 95 percent of all hit-and-run charges were in-state drivers and 70 percent of all hit-and-run charges were issued to men.
"Across the state of Florida, hit-and-run crashes are rising at an alarming rate," said Chief Kevin Lystad, FPCA's president. "We must reverse this trend and we ask our driving population to think and act responsibly. Report all accidents immediately to law enforcement and remain on the scene to provide assistance to those injured. While not only required by law, it is also the right thing to do. The consequences of leaving the scene of a crash are far greater than remaining both legally and morally. Do the right thing: Stop, report, and wait for first responders."