Alarming rise in hit-and-runs worries, baffles Florida officials

August 13th, 2013 - by DKRPA

Getting into a car accident is bad enough, but to quickly find that the other car involved has driven off is more than disheartening and it leaves you without much recourse. What’s worse is the Florida Highway Patrol says hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in Central Florida.

Just last month, there were 547 hit-and-run accidents in Central Florida. That number may sound high, but it pales in comparison to the monthly average of 724 hit-and-run accidents FHP handled in 2011 — nearly 24 accidents per day. FHP officials say that in 2008 the daily average was about half that. “We see an average of 20 to 25 hit and runs a day in Central Florida,” said a FHP sergeant.

Hit-and-run perpetrators usually have a legal or criminal reason to flee the scene of a crash. It is likely that a hit-and-run driver is either intoxicated, lacks car insurance or has a criminal history. That certainly does not excuse their negligent and illegal decision to leave the scene of an accident, and it puts the at-fault driver at risk of added litigation — if Florida officials can prove the driver was operating the car.

In order to convict a driver of a hit-and-run, investigators and law enforcement alike have to prove who was behind the wheel of the fleeing car. Knowing who owns the car is not enough proof, as they are only required to provide information about the car itself – not the accident or who was driving.

“The registered owner of the car many times will not cooperate,” said the FHP sergeant. “If we can’t prove who was driving the car, we can’t charge the owner with anything.”

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Hit-and-runs on rise in Central Florida,” Lyda Longa, Apr. 2, 2012