Hit-and-run accidents are at an all time high, according to a report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety on Thursday.
The trend was particularly acute in Maryland, as the state ranks nineteenth in per capita hit and run deaths, with 215 people perishing in such accidents since 2007.
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, according to data shared by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Office of Highway Safety.
As to be expected, Maryland’s population centers experience the highest frequency of hit-and-run accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Baltimore averaged 10,437 hit-and-runs over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2016, with Baltimore County next at 4,045, and Prince George’s County third with 2,566. Kent County had the fewest, averaging just 14 such accidents a year. Injuries and deaths trended similarly, with Baltimore City averaging 856 injuries and seven deaths, Prince George’s County averaging 363 injuries and six deaths, and Baltimore County averaging 305 injuries and 3 deaths per year over that 10-year period.
Though hit-and-run frequency remains fairly consistent throughout the week, more tend to occur Friday through Sunday.
Afternoons and evenings seem more perilous than mornings, with hit-and-runs spiking between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., correlating with rush hour.
As the days get longer and the weather warmer in the Maryland area, hit-and-runs pick up slightly. The stretch from May through August saw the highest average frequency of hit-and-runs.
Men are behind the wheel more often than women in hit-and-run crashes, but women are more frequently the passengers.
Of note in the the AAA study was the preponderance of hit-and-run deaths involving pedestrians and cyclists, which represent 65% of all such fatalities nationally.
In Maryland, 1,236 pedestrians were struck, 962 injured, and 19 were killed in hit-and-run crashes in 2016, higher than the 10-year average of 947 struck, 707 injured, and 16 killed. Much like drivers, pedestrians between the ages of 20 and 34 have the highest incidence of hit-and-run involvement.
More men than women are pedestrian victims of hit-and-runs as well.
As might be expected, crossing the street makes pedestrians most susceptible to hit and runs, as the majority of incidents happen at intersections, though crossing at other points ranks second.
Maryland state law requires drivers to remain on the scene, provide information, and if possible render aid when they are involved in collisions. Penalties for hit-and-run accidents escalate with the severity of the crash.
A driver who causes a hit-and-run accident that causes strictly car damage could face up to two months in jail and/or a fine of less than $500. If the crash involves a minor injury, the driver could face the same penalties. If the injuries are serious, it could be a felony charge resulting in up to five years in jail and/or a fine of $5,000. If a hit-and-run results in a death, the driver could be charged with a felony that carries up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Click the picture below to see the infographics laying out the current hit-and-run data: