In cities around the country, hit and run accidents are on the rise. It’s hard to watch the nightly news without seeing another hit and run accident that seriously injured or killed an innocent pedestrian crossing the street or waiting on a traffic light to turn red.
Over the last decade, hit and run accidents that have resulted in fatalities have risen by 15 percent. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,600 people die from hit and runs every year in the U.S., and 18 percent of those deaths are to unsuspecting pedestrians in the path of a fast-moving vehicle. Hit and run accidents are especially dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists since they have little protection from the direct impact of a heavy vehicle. If the victim lives, he/she usually has serious injuries including numerous broken bones, neck, back and spinal cord damage, limb amputations, and head and brain trauma. Many victims of hit and run accidents end up with long-term or permanent physical and mental disabilities.
As hit and run accidents continue to rise, the question is why? What would make a driver hit another driver, pedestrian, or cyclist, then flee the scene without calling for help or rendering assistance? According to traffic experts and accident reports, there are a number of reasons:
* The driver is intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs
* There are drugs and/or alcohol in the vehicle
* The driver has an expired driver’s license
* The driver has an expired vehicle registration
* The driver has no car insurance
* The driver has an outstanding warrant
* The vehicle is stolen
In many accidents where drunk driving or impaired driving is involved, drivers don’t even realize that they hit something or someone, even if they sustain injuries. In some hit and runs seen by an Oregon auto accident attorney, drivers are so fearful of being arrested and going to jail, they flee the scene to avoid fines and penalties. Unfortunately, most hit and run drivers are eventually caught or turned in by friends and family members, so penalties are much worse in the end.