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Hit and run accidents take a heavy toll on pedestrians

August 22, 2015

Hit and run accidents take a heavy toll on pedestrians

Hit and run crashes killed 884 pedestrians in the United States in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While traffic deaths have decreased in Kentucky and across the country, research indicates that there has been an increase in hit and run fatalities, and that pedestrians are the group that is hit the hardest.

Statistics from 2013 from The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that 9% of vehicle crash fatalities in Kentucky, or 55 people, were pedestrians. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 60 percent of people who die in a crash where at least one of the drivers has left the scene were on foot. In addition, one out of every five pedestrian deaths occurs because of a hit and run crash.

In Kentucky in 2013, rural accidents accounted for 77 percent of traffic deaths, according to the IIHS. As the majority of pedestrian deaths occur at night, walking on a rural road after dark puts a pedestrian at particular risk. Not only are there fewer resources for help nearby, but also chances are slimmer that a witness will be able to gather critical information about a fleeing vehicle or its driver.

In Kentucky, fleeing the scene of an accident is a serious crime. Kentucky law is clear that anyone involved in an accident is required to stop and assess the extent of the damage, and to offer help. However, despite the threat of legal consequence, AAA states that at least one driver abandons the scene in 11 percent of incidents that are reported to law enforcement. Often, it is a pedestrian that suffers the severest consequences.