When there is a car accident in Florida, it is expected that those involved will stay on the scene — regardless of whether it’s major or minor accident — and deal with the situation. However, the number of vehicles that are involved in a hit and run is substantial. The number of fatalities because of this is growing and there is an increased movement afoot to try to prevent and avoid it. The idea is to teach drivers about their responsibilities when there is an accident as well as point out what can happen legally if a hit and run is committed.
Driver who are in an accident are advised to follow the acronym “CRASH” meaning call for help, remain calm, attain vehicle information, sketch the scene of the crash and help those who have been hurt. Although it is obvious what a driver is supposed to do after an accident, there are still those who choose to run away from the problem. In Florida, between 2013 and 2014, the number of hit and run accidents that led to death rose 23 percent. The overall number of hit and run crashes rose seven percent. Almost half of those killed in hit and run accidents were in 2014 were pedestrians. That is a rise of 17 percent from the year before. Of all the crashes in the state, one-quarter of them were hit and run.
The law is clear as to how drivers who are in an auto accident and leave the scene will be treated. The new laws came into effect on July 1, 2014. A driver must stop and help if there was a car accident that caused serious bodily injury. If the driver does not stop, it is a second degree felony. There will be a minimum of four years in jail for leaving the scene after a fatal crash. If there was a DUI during the incident, there will be a four year sentence.
Even with the penalties and steps to teach drivers how they are supposed to behave after a hit and run, it doesn’t automatically mean that these rules and pieces of advice will be followed. Those who are victims in a hit and run accident or have lost a loved one have rights to seek compensation. Speaking to a lawyer experienced in cases of hit and run can help to pursue a legal case.
Source: Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “Hit And Run – Bad To Worse,” accessed on June 16, 2015