When Walking Turns Deadly: The Alarming Increase of Hit and Runs
Alarming statistics for hit-and-run pedestrian accidents have just been released, and Florida is leading the nation with these types of events. Over 70,000 hit-and-run occurrences happened in Florida in 2012, with 17,000 resulting in serious injury and 166 deaths. These figures were released by the Florida Highway Patrol.
These unfortunate accidents tend to occur in highly populated areas, such as city centers, beach areas and other locations where there is a large concentration of people on foot. The influx of people, along with the congestion of cars is the main contributing factor.
Places such as Fort Lauderdale see higher numbers of these incidents because of the abundance of tourism that takes place in the locale. With thousands of people visiting the beach areas and the many different attractions, the risk for a hit-and-run increases tremendously. With these incidents on the rise, a greater number of people are being adversely affected by hit-and-runs. Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer groups are seeing more and more cases as a result.
Florida Hit-and-Run Laws
At this time, Florida law is not as strict on a hit-and-run driver as it should be. In fact, a hit-and-run conviction that involves an injury in Florida carries less of a sentence than a DUI. In this state, a hit-and-run driver is only charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Many motorists who are involved in this type of accident are under the influence of a substance. By remaining at the scene, these drivers face serious charges and probably jail time for causing the incident. By fleeing, they lessen the risk of being charged with DUI, and only have to avoid fleeing charges if caught.
There are several advocacy groups within the state trying to change this injustice, but as it stands right now, offenders are better off fleeing an accident than remaining at the scene.
Staying Safe as a Pedestrian
When you are walking or operating a bicycle, especially in city areas, you will need to take extra caution. While it is impossible to avoid every type of accident, it is possible to prevent many of them. Pedestrians and cyclists should remember to do the following:
• Cross at designated crossing areas – A large part of hit-and-run accidents occur when people dart out between cars.
• Go with the flow of traffic – Know the basic rules of the road and comply with them. Going against traffic can cause head-on collisions.
• Look both ways twice – You have heard this since you were very little. Look both ways before entering a street and then look again before you step out into the road.
• Wear light clothes at night – Too many people dress in dark, non-reflective clothing when they are out at night. For those who like to jog or bicycle after sunset, make sure you have some type of reflective apparel on your body. Another trick is to carry a flashlight while you are out, even if it is held pointing downward in your hand. That little bit of light can make all the difference.
While it is ultimately the responsibility of the driver to prevent having an accident with their vehicle, it is helpful for the pedestrians to aid in these little ways. An accident can leave you with life-long injuries and everything should be done to prevent this from happening.
Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and fitness walker. She contributes this article to bring more awareness of pedestrian road safety. Steinger, Iscoe and Green is a Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer firm dedicated to diligently protecting the legal rights of individuals involved in hit-and-run accidents.
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