A new survey conducted by the AAA Foundation reveals that accident-related fatalities are increasing throughout the United States. In particular, pedestrian fatalities have seen a dramatic increase, climbing by approximately 25% during the previous four years. These troubling statistics highlight the worsening dangers of walking, jogging, or cycling around careless or aggressive drivers – and in a crowded city like Philadelphia, that could spell disaster for the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians who simply want to enjoy the summer weather. If one of your family members was recently hit by a car while walking, jogging, or riding their bike in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia hit and run accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm can fight to secure compensation for their injuries, medical bills, and other losses.
AAA: Hit and Run Deaths Increasing, Most Fatalities Cyclists or Pedestrians
On April 26, 2018, the AAA Newsroom issued a press release titled “Hit-and-Run Deaths Hit Record High.” The findings, which were discussed in Business Insider, the Chicago Tribune, and other major news publications, revealed the following accident statistics:
- On average, there have been approximately 682,000 hit and run accidents every year since 2006. That’s a shocking daily average of roughly 1,868 hit and run crashes in the United States.
- Thousands of these accidents have deadly outcomes for one or more victims. In 2016 alone, hit and run crashes caused nearly 2,050 fatalities – the highest number on record using the available data. Spread across the year, that figure amounts to nearly six deaths every day.
- Since 2009, hit and run deaths have steadily increased by more than 7% per year, meaning today’s figures are 60% higher than they were less than a decade ago. Proportionally speaking, hit and run accidents are now responsible for a larger percentage of traffic deaths than they were at any point during the past 12 years.
- Most of the people who were killed in these accidents – about 65%, or just under two thirds – were either cyclists or pedestrians.
- Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire reported the lowest rates of fatal hit and run accidents during the study period. Conversely, the highest rates were found in Florida, Louisiana, and New Mexico. These rates were calculated on a per-capita basis.
Hit and Run Laws in PA
To quote Dr. David Yang, who serves as executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction.” But why?
The researchers behind the study did not reach a conclusive answer about the causes behind these disturbing trends in road safety. However, the rise in accidents is likely correlated with the rise in distracted driving, which has increased due to smartphones, texting, apps, and other technological advances.
Additionally, existing research suggests that, compared to other motorists, hit and run drivers are more likely to have records of license suspension and/or intoxicated driving. This could explain why many hit and run drivers choose to flee – despite the fact that state laws generally criminalize leaving the scene of an injury crash or fatal accident before seeking help and exchanging information. In Pennsylvania, for example, 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3742 makes it a felony to prematurely leave the scene of an accident that results in death. The statute establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison, plus criminal fines of at least $2,500.
While state laws create strict criminal laws prohibiting drivers from leaving a crash scene, injury victims may need to look beyond Pennsylvania’s criminal courts for justice and compensation. Depending on the circumstances, the victim or surviving loved ones may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit or file a wrongful death lawsuit independently of any criminal prosecution that may be taking place.
At The Reiff Law Firm, our Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys have handled numerous auto accident claims involving fatal hit and run crashes, equipping us with the experience and strategic know-how to aggressively litigate any hit and run claim in Pennsylvania. Our uninsured driver hit and run accident lawyers can also evaluate your claim to determine whether compensation may be available through UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist) coverage, which many Pennsylvania drivers choose to carry in addition to mandatory insurance coverage like PIP (Personal Injury Protection).
Philadelphia Car, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyers Fighting for Hit and Run Victims
If these accident trends follow their current trajectory, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities will only continue increasing – and with warm summer weather luring more people outside, the opportunities for catastrophe will only multiply.
If you or one of your family members was injured in a hit and run accident, or if a loved one was wrongfully killed by a hit and run driver, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm are here to help you understand your legal options. Our award-winning legal team includes pedestrian injury attorneys and bicycle accident lawyers with more than 34 years of experience, enabling us to develop a comprehensive, hard-hitting strategy designed to achieve results. For a free consultation about a deadly bicycle accident in Philadelphia, a deadly pedestrian accident with a hit and run driver, or an accident that resulted in injuries or property damage, contact our personal injury lawyers online, or call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 today.