A grim milestone was set in 2016, as 2,029 people died as a result of hit-and-run crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the highest number on record and a 60 percent jump since 2009, when 1,274 people died in such collisions.
Ticking up by 7.2 percent a year since 2009, the country now averages 682,000 hit-and-run crashes per year from 2006 to 2015. Though hit-and-run accidents tend to account for roughly 12 percent of all traffic crashes and five percent of traffic fatalities, nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-run crashes are pedestrians or cyclists.
“Now that we’re getting into warmer weather and there’s more pedestrians out,” said Christine Saramas Delise, the Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA, “we thought it was appropriate to generate awareness on the issue.”
Per capita, Maryland ranks nineteenth national. The frequency of hit-and-runs in the state has grown considerably over a similar stretch, as there were 17,574 hit-and-runs resulting in 24 deaths in 2009, and 30,261 hit-and-runs resulting in 27 deaths in 2016.
“It is every driver’s legal and moral responsibility to take necessary precautions to avoid hitting another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, the Public and Government Affairs Manager at AAA. “While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers- whether they caused the crash or not.”
TOMORROW: WMAR 2 News breaks down the hit-and-run statistics for Maryland.