FLORIDA – A news report on wuft.org reports that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has initiated a news safety campaign designed to reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents in 2021 and beyond. In 2020, there were 254 fatal hit-and-run accidents in 2020, and this is an increase of more than 18% over 2019. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department’s data collection shows that bicyclists and pedestrians are at the highest risk, making up about 64% of all hit-and-run accident fatalities. The department also discovered that 85% of the accident happened through low-light hours such as dawn, dusk, or nighttime.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ primary goal is to get drivers to remain at the accident scene after an accident.
Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes stated that when drivers flee the accident scene, they are breaking the law, and they could be leaving a victim who needs immediate medical attention. In many hit-and-run accidents, the drivers would not have been in trouble for staying at the scene but left, then the pedestrian dies due to no medical attention, and the driver is later charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Under Florida Law, a driver must promptly stop at the accident scene that resulted in property damage, injury, or death. If the accident involves significant property damage or injury, the drivers involved in the must gather the names, insurance, driver’s license, and tag information then must report the accident online. Drivers who are arrested and charged with “leaving the scene of an accident will face a felony charge and could have their driver’s licenses revoked for three years or longer. Additionally, if the offender is convicted of “leaving the scene of an accident,” they could receive a prison sentence of up to four years in prison.
According to Florida Highway Patrol Director Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious criminal offense. As a driver involved in an accident, it is mandatory for drivers to remain at the accident scene and render assistance to bicyclists, motorists, pedestrians who have been harmed or suffered property damage.
City’s like Gainesville had recently observed the impact of pedestrian fatalities when two University of Florida students were killed in traffic homicides in the past couple of months. Gainesville police stated recently that the vehicle involved in one homicide had been identified using license plate recognition technology.
The “Stay at the Scene” campaign is the first measure taken at the state level after more than 200 other fatal accidents in Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation also stated that new traffic signage would be placed by University Avenue to warn drivers to stop for pedestrians.
The state is also openly asked the public to submit information concerning open hit-and-run accident cases, which is posted on the department’s website.
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