It is probably hard to imagine a situation in which is seems acceptable to flee from the scene of an accident that you have caused. Yet that is what thousands of people do every year when they are involved in a car accident in which someone is injured. In fact, while overall traffic accidents have been decreasing in recent years, the number of fatal hit-and-run accidents has increased. A spokesperson from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety told reporters that the public isn’t really aware of the magnitude of this problem.
Alcohol is often a factor in drunk driving accidents, according to experts on the topic. Drivers often believe it is better to flee than to risk being apprehended for drunk driving. Other factors that influence the decision to flee could be things like driving with a suspended license or other illegal activity.
One factor that makes hit-and-run accidents so dangerous is that the person who causes the accident and flees is often the person who should have been contacting authorities for emergency assistance. Instead that person is leaving the scene and presumably leaving the victim for dead, resulting in a longer period of time before a bystander or the victim themselves is able to contact police.
One California lawmaker involved in legislative efforts to curb hit-and-run accidents called this a values problem and helped change the penalties for a hit-and-run to match those connected to causing a drunk driving accident.
Drivers who cause these accidents should be held accountable for their negligent and reckless behavior. Victims have a right to seek compensation in a civil suit.
Source: USA Today, “Fatal hit-and-run crash on rise in U.S.,” Larry Copeland, Nov. 10, 2013