Leaving the Scene: Florida’s Growing Hit and Run Problem

This story brought to you by Canan Law, voted best St. Augustine Attorney in 2012.

There are new and startling statistics from the Highway Patrol about Florida hit and run crashes. Last Year, police responded to nearly 70,000 hit-and-run crashes that injured about 17,000 people. Of those 70,000 accidents, 168 people lost their lives. One hundred of those victims were pedestrians.

Accidents happen, but fewer drivers are stopping to determine the outcome. Instead, these drivers simply speed away.

Drivers leave the scene of a crash for a variety of reasons. They may be intoxicated, they may be hearing impaired, they may not have a driver’s license, their license might be suspended, they may be here illegally [or] they may have warrants out for their arrest.

For many victims, the driver of the vehicle who left the scene is never found. The majority of victims’ loved ones agree, until the fugitive is caught and brought to justice, there can be no closure for them.

Now police are launching a campaign to make it clear that if you’re involved in a crash, you must stop and wait for police to arrive.

On Monday, February 18, 2013, the Florida Highway Patrol launched a campaign to bring awareness to the growing problem. A new page on the website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which will profile cold case hit-and-run crashes from all over the state, was launched as part of the program.

Leaving the scene of an accident with injuries is not just immoral, but also a felony. If a driver stays at the scene of an accident involving death, the penalty could be just a citation. However, if the driver leaves the scene of the crash the penalties are much greater.

Hit-and-run convictions:

  • for leaving a fatal crash, 30-year prison term and/or fine of up to $10,000
  • leaving injured persons behind, five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine
  • fleeing a damaged property crash, 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine

Leaving the scene of an accident is the worst thing you can do. State law requires drivers to immediately stop, remain at the scene, exchange information and render reasonable aid to injured persons.

Remember CRASH:

  • Call law enforcement;
  • Remain calm;
  • Attain vehicle, witness and driver information;
  • Sketch the scene; and,
  • Help the injured.

Anyone with information about hit-and-run crashes can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). Or, you can text “Tip231 plus your message” to 274637.

For more information on the new FHP campaign, go to http://www.FLHSMV.gov/fhp/hitrun.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a hit-and-run driver, you would be well-advised to contact a Canan Law attorney to help you navigate through the investigation, find the at-fault driver and help you receive what you deserve to get you back on your feet. Our law firm is devoted to the well being and financial stability of our clients. Let our team of trusted lawyers represent you or your loved one.

Call us or stop by our offices at 43 Cincinnati Avenue in downtown St. Augustine if you have any questions about pedestrian accidents or personal injury cases.

Canan Law, the most respected team of attorneys in St. Augustine, keeps you informed with blog posts discussing legal terms and Florida court cases that matter to you. Our firm specializes in auto accidents, personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Ask your legal question today with our website’s live chat feature!

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