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All Press Releases for February 06, 2014 »
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As hit-and-run accidents increase, L.A. is among the cities hit hardest

In 2013, numerous headlines and news stories were devoted to dangers like distracted and drowsy driving, while hit-and-run accidents were not as heavily publicized.
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    February 06, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In 2013, numerous headlines and news stories were devoted to dangers like distracted and drowsy driving, while hit-and-run accidents were not as heavily publicized. Unfortunately, reports show that the incidence of hit-and-run accidents is increasing across the nation, and Los Angeles County, California, is no exception; in fact, Los Angeles is one city that has seen an astounding number of these accidents in the last few years. This growing danger has prompted Los Angeles City Council officials to explore ways of reducing the accidents and the associated injuries or fatalities.

Shocking hit and run statistics

Although Los Angeles has a reputation for being a crowded and busy city with a higher risk of car accidents, the number of hit-and-run accidents that have occurred in recent years is astounding. The Los Angeles Times reported in Oct. 2013 that over 14,000 such accidents had already occurred that year in the city. This figure was not an aberration; it represented just a 3 percent increase over the previous year's accidents.

In Nov. 2013, a USA Today article shared more similarly disturbing hit-and-run statistics:
- An average of 20,000 hit-and-run accidents occur annually in Los Angeles.
- Someone is killed or injured in 20 percent of these accidents.
- In 2009, 48 percent of accidents in the city were hit-and-runs.
- For the sake of comparison, the national average in 2009 was 11 percent.
- Nationwide, hit-and-run fatalities increased by 13.7 percent from 2009 to 2011, even as overall traffic accident fatalities were declining.

According to USA Today, these accidents most commonly affect pedestrians and involve people who are driving under the influence, which can make the outcomes especially terrible. Although the problem is occurring on a national scale, it is especially pronounced in Los Angeles, which is why officials are exploring ways to combat it.

Proposed Los Angeles initiatives

The Los Angeles City Council has recommended a few measures to help reduce hit-and-run rates, according to the Los Angeles Times. The council will ask for more data on hit-and-run accidents to be collected, including those accidents that do not cause injury, so that data and trends over the years can be analyzed more accurately. The council will also endorse legislation mandating harsher sanctions for drivers who choose to flee the scene of an accident.

According to USA Today, some states have already successfully enacted laws that make the penalties for fleeing an accident comparable to the penalties for staying and facing the consequences. In Texas, hit-and-run is now a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. In Arizona, drivers who leave the scene after causing an injury or fatal injury automatically forfeit their licenses for five and ten years, respectively. In Florida, lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would establish a minimum three-year penalty for leaving the scene, with higher minimums if people are injured or killed.

In the future, similar laws could help curb the trend of rising hit-and-run accidents in Los Angeles. Of course, legal measures will not stop every driver from making irresponsible choices, and they will not prevent every accident from occurring in the first place. Anyone who is injured because of the actions of another driver should contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of the case and possible options for compensation.

Article provided by Law Office of Daniel W. Dunbar
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