Hit-and-run car accidents are likely to have serious consequences for victims, as the fleeing driver does not get medical help for those who are harmed. Car accidents with hit-and-run drivers can also make it more difficult for collision victims to be compensated for crash losses, because the victim will not be able to get money from the driver who hit him unless that driver is found. Law enforcement officers will investigate fatal hit and runs to try to identify the driver responsible for causing the accident. If the driver is not found, crash victims or their surviving families can seek compensation from uninsured motorist coverage with their own insurer in many cases.
While all hit-and-runs are dangerous, some of the most high-risk hit-and-run car accidents are pedestrian accidents. When a pedestrian is left unaided after being struck by a vehicle, the delays in getting help for serious medical injuries can be fatal. The pedestrian may also be in a dangerous location and may be vulnerable to getting run over by other vehicles and suffering further harm.
Understanding Risks of Pedestrian Hit-and-run Accidents
A paper from the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center at UC Berkley assesses some of the factors likely to increase the chances of a hit-and-run. Characteristics of the fleeing driver played a role in the likelihood of a hit-and-run. When a pedestrian was the victim, the characteristics of the pedestrian also impacted the likelihood a driver would leave the scene after causing an accident.
Nighttime was the time with the majority of hit-and-runs. Crash statistics show 35.3 percent of hit-and-run crashes which caused the death of pedestrians occurred between midnight and 4:00 AM. Deadly pedestrian crashes involving hit-and-run drivers were also more likely to happen on Saturday and Sunday (22.7 percent of deadly pedestrian hit-and-run collisions happened on weekends). While nighttime was the highest risk time, most hit-and-run crashes resulting in pedestrian deaths actually happened when there was some light on the road. This could mean nighttime with street lights, or dawn, or dusk.
Male drivers were more likely than female drivers to be involved in hit-and-run collisions. People with vehicles five or more years old also had a higher rate of hit-and-run collisions than driver of newer vehicles, and many people who fled crash scenes had prior violations, had a suspended license, or had previously had a suspended license. A BAC above the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit was also likely to increase the chances of a hit-and-run.
Drivers were less likely to flee the scene of a crash after striking certain pedestrians. Less than 13 percent of motorists left the scene of a hit-and-run collision when the victim was 66 or older, or was under 11.
Understanding the risks of hit and runs is important to saving lives, and especially pedestrian lives. A total of 18.1 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents between 1998 and 2007 involved hit-and-run drivers.