Fatal pedestrian hit-and-run accidents have steadily increased percentage-wise in recent years. Between 1998 to 2007, the percentage of hit-and-run accidents resulting in the death of pedestrians has increased. This trend comes despite the fact that the overall number of pedestrian accident deaths has declined.
During this 10-year time period, a total of 18.1 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes were hit-and-run accidents. This trend could be due to the fact the risk of death to pedestrians is greater in a hit-and-run collision since there's often a delay in contacting emergency medical services. The victim is also more likely to be struck by an additional vehicle if the first driver who hit pedestrian does not stop to help.
Understanding when and how hit-and-run pedestrian accidents happen reveals a lot about these devastating crashes. A research paper from UC Berkley's Safe Transportation Research & Education Center discussed some of the factors often associated with deadly hit-and-run pedestrian collisions.
Factors Increasing the Likelihood of Hit-and-Run Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents often occur at certain times of the day. The highest share of hit-and-run pedestrian deaths occurred between midnight and 4 AM. A total of 35.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities involving hit-and-run drivers occurred during this time. The weekend was also prime time for hit-and-run accidents, with 22.7 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents involving hit-and-run drivers occurring on Saturday or Sunday. Surprisingly, the highest number of fatal hit-and-run pedestrian accidents happened when there was "some" light, as opposed to when it was very dark. This included dawn, dusk, and nighttime with lights.
Urban locations were more likely to be the site of hit-and-run accidents than rural areas, but the difference was not considered statistically significant. If the pedestrian was in a location other than a road or crosswalk, the driver was actually more likely to flee the scene.
Both pedestrian and driver characteristics impacted the likelihood a driver would leave the scene of the accident. Specifically, drivers were less likely to leave the scene of collisions involving pedestrian victims that were either younger or older. Fewer than 13 percent of drivers fled the scene of a crash after killing a person under age 11 or over age 66. The drivers most likely to leave the scene were young men with prior violations, with prior suspended licenses or with a driver's license that was suspended or invalid at the time of the collision. High blood alcohol concentration (BAC) often was a factor resulting in a driver choosing to flee the scene of the accident. In addition, drivers with vehicles more than five years old fled accident scenes at higher rates than people driving newer cars.
No matter what the circumstances, hit-and-run accidents are illegal. And drivers who do so should be held accountable for their actions if they are caught, including financially compensating injury victims for medical expenses, lost income and other important items.