Hit-and-Run: A Problem on Florida's Roads

The number of hit-and-run accidents happening in Florida every year is increasing. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that from 2012 to 2014 there were 235,666 hit-and-run crashes on Florida’s roads. When that large number is broken down, it reveals even more troubling trends:

  • Hit-and-run crashes with fatalities increased by 24% over 2013-14.
  • Statewide hit-and-run crashes have increased by 7% in the same time.
  • Pedestrians are involved in over half of fatal hit-and-run crashes.
  • 25% of all the accidents in Florida are hit-and-run accidents.

These shows a startling and dangerous trend for drivers everywhere in Florida. Some recent developments in Florida law are aimed at stopping the trend.

Florida’s Laws on Hit-and-Run Drivers

Florida’s laws fix duties and responsibilities on drivers who are involved in an accident. Found in Florida Statutes 316.062, these duties and responsibilities are triggered when an accident causes damage to another person or vehicle. Under the terms of the law, a driver in such an accident is required to:

  • Provide the name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other drivers involved in the accident.
  • Give the same information to any police officers that come on the scene of the accident.
  • Provide a reasonable amount of aid to any injured people in the accident (including calling for emergency responders to come to the scene of the accident).
  • Report the accident to the nearest police authority.

These duties and responsibilities are fixed by Florida law. If a driver involved in an accident fails to comply with these duties, he or she could be cited with a noncriminal traffic violation. There are additional penalties for drivers that leave a scene of an accident involving alcohol, serious injury, or a fatality.

Florida Passes Tough Laws for Hit-and-Run Drivers

There are drivers who leave the scene of an accident where alcohol was involved, where someone was hurt, or even where someone was killed. The penalties and rules surrounding these situations can be found in Florida’s new law at Florida Statutes 316.027. This new law was passed in 2014 and makes leaving a scene of an accident involving an injured driver a third degree felony, a seriously injured driver a second degree felony, and a drunk driver or a fatality a first degree felony and a mandatory minimum jail term of four years.

There are additional penalties that can result from leaving a scene of an accident. A driver could face fines or the revocation of his or her driver’s license.

There are stiff penalties for those who decide to leave a scene of an accident. Such drivers can expect to be held civilly liable for the damages they cause. Florida’s civil laws impose a duty on drivers to drive reasonably. When drivers cause accidents and run away, they can be held to pay for the damages they caused.

At The Pittman Firm we represent victims of accidents and injuries. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, or any other kind of accident, contact us. We will fight on your behalf so you can recover what the law entitles you to recover.

See related blog posts: Danger Lurks When Bad Rubber Meets The Road; Avoiding Highway Accidents that Spoil Summer Vacations.
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