According to a new report from the Florida Highway Patrol, 2015 was a record-breaking year for hit-and-run accidents in the state. FHP reports the state had 92,623 hit-and-runs last year, about an 8,000-accident rise since 2014. They resulted in more than 19,000 injuries and 186 fatalities.
In Miami-Dade, there were 18,345 hit-and-runs, up from 17,479 in 2014.
Pedestrians were the most common victims of hit-and-runs. About half of all hit-and-run fatalities involved
“People leave the scene of a crash for several reasons,” Col. Gene Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, said in a statement. “They are scared, they may be impaired, they may have a suspended driver’s license, or they may not have insurance. No matter what the reason, as a driver, it is your responsibility to remain at the crash scene to respond and help anyone who’s injured.”
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This despite the fact that leaving the scene of an accident that results in death or injury is a felony in Florida and punishable by a minimum sentence of four years in jail.
FHP reports that young men are the most likely to leave an accident. About a third of all hit-and-runs involved a driver age 18 to 27, while 70 percent of that figure involved male drivers.
The numbers were released as FHP unveils its annual "From Bad 2 Worse" hit-and-run campaign.
In a news conference, FHP officials also asked anyone who witnesses a hit-and-run to whip out their cell phone and gather any information that may help lead to the arrest of the driver.