Hit-And-Runs: A Growing Safety Concern
What do Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Bynes have in common? They have all been charged with leaving the scene of an accident after a hit and run. A report prepared by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety www.AAAFoundation.org found that more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on our roadways. Unfortunately, that rate has been steadily increasing each year. On average, that equals 682,000 hit-and-run crashes a year.
“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.”
Most of these crashes involve pedestrians or bicyclists. Recently, a Mount Vernon woman was injured, and her dog killed, by a hit-and run driver near Oak Street and North Terrace Avenue. An SUV turned onto North Terrace and struck the woman as she was crossing the road. She sustained a broken elbow, requiring surgery, and the loss of the family pet. Shortly thereafter, a man was struck as he was walking to his parked car on South Lake Boulevard in Mahopac. The victim was taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he later died of his injuries. In both of these incidents, anyone with information should contact their local police department.
What Should You Do If You Hit Someone?
If a driver is involved in a crash, they should never leave the scene. Every state has laws that make it illegal for a driver involved in a crash to leave the scene of an accident. If found guilty of doing so, drivers can face large fines, lose their license or spend time in prison.
Instead, drivers should follow these steps:
- Check for injured people. Calling 911 for medical assistance is critical.
- Avoid additional accidents by making sure approaching drivers are aware of the crash. Use flashers or flares to alert oncoming cars.
- Call the police. A report should be filed with the police as well as your insurance company.
As Dr. Yang concluded, “We can’t forget that cars can be deadly when they come in 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.” A bit of advice that even celebrities should take to heart!