Hit-and-Runs Surged to More Than 92,000 in Florida Last Year

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 pedestrians, while about one in four accidents involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle resulted in the driver leaving the scene. 

“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.”

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. 
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder