New figures released by AAA show a record increase in the number of deaths from hit-and-run crashes. In 2016, the last record year, 1,980 fatal accidents in the US claimed 2,049 lives – 60 percent more than in 2009. Pedestrians and cyclists account for nearly 65 percent of those killed.
Every 43 seconds in the US, someone is involved in a hit-and-run, and 1 in 5 pedestrian deaths are hitbacks.
What is driving the dangerous trend? AAA believes that part of the reason is that cities have become more accessible and have encouraged people to cycle to work. But they have not built any infrastructure where there is a shared area for a bike path that is protected from traffic, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.
Cindy Cooper's father, John, rode his motorcycle when he was killed by a stop-sign car and launched in June 2007.
"We went over and we tried to figure out what happened and how it could have been prevented," Cooper said. She said the driver who killed her father was a 1
In another case, Dash Cam video suffered the most common type of blow-and-run crash: one that causes property damage. The driver of a dark SUV sees him driving another vehicle and driving away.
"Obvious potential factors could be distraction for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike," said Jake Nelson, AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research Director. "And the fact that more people travel and cycle every day, there is no infrastructure countermeasure to protect them."
AAA also noted that research on drivers with driving license is limited because the culprits often get away.
"We often do not know who these racers are, we only know what we know about the victims," Nelson said.
If the accidents are fatal, some research shows that the driver is more of a young man with a background in driving under influence and license restrictions and tending to drive an older model car. Studies found that drivers leaving the scene were between two and nine times more likely to be drunk at the time of the crash.
But Cooper hopes her story can help change that trend.
"Creating awareness is how I feel, how we can fight it … hopefully it will cause that number to drop," Cooper said.
Every state has laws that make it illegal for a driver involved in an accident to flee the scene. Colorado and some cities in California have implemented Amber Alert-style messages that are pushed through text, email, local television, and radio when a driver is involved in a hit-and-run.
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