Hit-and-run deaths hit record high, AAA says

Hit-and-run deaths hit record high, AAA says

TEXAS (KAUZ) - New research from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads.

In 2016, the crashes resulted in 2,049 deaths which is the highest number on record and a 60-percent increase since 2009.

Because of this, AAA is requesting drivers to be alert while driving to avoid a deadly crash.

AAA researchers have found several common characteristics of hit-and-run crashes.

They found an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes has happened every year since 2006. They also said that nearly 65 percent of people killed in these crashes have been pedestrians or bicyclists. Hit-and-run deaths in the United States have also increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.

AAA says that Texas ranks eighth in the country for states with the highest amount of hit-and-run crashes. They also said that per capita New Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes. By contrast, New Hampshire, Maine, and Minnesota have the least amount.

"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."

The report also found that over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes. They say to decrease the chances of being in a pedestrian of bicyclist crash, a driver should be aware, cautious, patient, and vigilant. Watch out for children and be aware that pedestrians can be unpredictable. Drivers should also always yield to crosswalks.

If a driver is involved in a crash, they should never leave the scene as that is illegal. They should assist the injured and be visible to approaching drivers. They should also communicate and file a report with police.

"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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