Hit-and-run car accidents growing problem in the U.S.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there has been an alarming increase in a certain category of fatal motor vehicle collisions. Since 2006, the numbers of fatal hit-and-run car accidents has increased by an estimated 7.2 percent every year. Though Minnesota ranks in the bottom three for these types of tragedies, residents and visitors here could still be at risk.

Researchers with AAA discovered that there were an estimated 2,049 fatal hit-and-run crashes reported in 2016. That represents a nearly 60 percent increase since 2009. An estimated 680,000 hit-and-run wrecks occurred every year for the past nine years. Approximately 65 percent of these fatal crashes involved pedestrians or cyclists.

AAA statistics found that approximately 20 percent of these fatalities over the past decade involved pedestrians. In comparison, only 1 percent of fatal hit-and-runs resulted in the death of the driver. In an effort to prevent these deaths, AAA is urging drivers to exercise caution whenever pedestrians are likely to be present. Furthermore, motorists who strike an object or a person may face such penalties as heavy fines, the loss of driving privileges and prison terms, depending on the situation. AAA is urging motorists to drive with caution and to never leave a crash scene.

If a driver is involved in an accident, he or she is required to render aid to victims whenever possible. In addition, drivers should take steps to increase visibility for other motorists and contact local officials as soon as possible. In spite of one's best efforts, tragedies such as car accidents will likely continue to take a terrible toll on the lives of Minnesota victims. When these accidents are caused by the negligence of another party, victims or their survivors may have recourse to file a civil lawsuit against the parties deemed responsible in an effort to recover their financial damages.

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