Recently, officers with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Orlando Police Department joined with the loved ones of people who had died as a result of hit-and-run accidents to plead with the drivers behind hit-and-run accidents to stop fleeing from crash sites. This comes as part of a month-long effort by the Florida Highway Patrol and the Orlando Police Department to reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes that happen in Central Florida as well as throughout the rest of the state.
The facts relating to this effort are bleak. In 2018, it was documented that the officers with the Florida Highway Patrol as well as officers with other police departments throughout Florida responded to and investigated over 101,000 instances of reported hit-and-run crashes. Out of this number of incidents, 198 people died and over 1,000 more were injured. Throughout Central Florida alone, officers responded to close to 6,000 incidents of hit-and-run crashes. As a result of these crashes, 18 individuals died.
The Florida Highway Patrol released data that stated that in the Central Florida area alone every day they receive somewhere between 30 and 40 reports of hit-and-run accidents. Out of this number, it is not clear how many of the drivers responsible are ever located, but the facts do suggest that many of the people who are behind the wheels of cars involved in hit-and-run incidents manage to elude capture for a significant period of time. This results in the families and loved ones of the victims suffering from in a semi-opaque limbo, where they never get to experience the closure of knowing the full facts about the death of someone important to them. It makes the grieving process exponentially more difficult as it must be done with numerous questions still unanswered, and with the person or persons responsible seemingly able to continue with their lives as though nothing at all happened.
Beyond knowing that it will offer the families of the victims helpful components to their healing process, the reasons for not fleeing from the scene of an accident also stretch to the legal repercussions. For those who flee the scene of a fatal crash, first-degree felony charges await them after their capture. Even those who only damage someone else’s property, a hit-and-run perpetrator can, when captured, face a $500 fine as well as 60 days sitting in a jail.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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