2,049 people died in 1,980 fatal hit and run crashes in 2016 in the US according to a study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is the highest number of fatal hit and run crashes ever recorded in the US. Among the 2,049 people who died in these accidents, 1,229 of them were pedestrians, 169 were cyclists, 380 of them were drivers and 229 were passengers. Since 2009 hit and run crashes increased by an average annual rate of 7.2% per year.
New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit and run crashes per 100,000 people while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rate.
Almost 60% of the victims of fatal hit and run are pedestrians with elderly over 80 year old and children under 6 being 50% more likely to be a victim of such accidents. Gender is also a factor. 70% of pedestrians dying in a hit and run accidents are male.
Fatal hit and run accidents have a higher risk to occur in areas where visibility is low. They mostly occur at night. Lighting, roadway geometry and location are all environmental factors that can influence the likelihood of a driver leaving a pedestrian injured in the street after hitting him or her. At nighttime there is also a higher probability that drivers may be intoxicated or driving without a license. In both these cases, the driver is more likely to flee the scene of the accident to avoid severe consequences such as going to jail.
Deadly hit and run crashes occurred more often on roads with lower speed limits as well as lower speed sections of roadways such as ramps, overpasses or curves. Pedestrians are usually more likely to cross the road in these area rather than on a high speed road. Additionally accidents at high speed increase the amount of damages and make it more difficult for the driver to leave the scene of the accident without being identified.
Download the research brief here