Why are Hit and Runs so Dangerous?
A hit and run occurs when a vehicle hits something or someone and then drives off. Legally, they knowingly leave the scene of a crime without leaving their information. While it is commonly associated with hitting a person and fleeing the scene, it can also mean that someone causes destruction by hitting another car or object and then drives away without seeking help or taking responsibility for any damage created.
Statistically, accidents involving hit and runs where a person is struck are common and dangerous. In the US, it is estimated that more than one hit and run occurs every minute. Over 20% of all pedestrian deaths related to vehicles were caused by hit and runs in the last ten years.
Hit and runs are dangerous because they often lengthen the time before emergency services can be rendered. If a Killeen car accident occurs at night or in a rural place, the victim could be lying in pain with their injury for a long time before they are discovered.
What can you do?
The number one way to never have a hit and run is to never leave an accident scene. This is true even if you only hit a small object like backing into a fence. If there is damage, you should stay at the scene to make sure any person or owner of the property can get your information. While it may be tempting to flee the scene, know that if you are caught later you will face higher penalties and more punishment for leaving.
If you witness a hit and run, try to remember as much information as you can. Get out your phone and take pictures or a video. This is especially helpful if you are able to capture a picture of the driver or the license plate of the vehicle that caused the damage. Make sure to contact the police with the information you have. If someone is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately so they can get the help they need.
Texas has laws that apply to hit and runs. These can be found in the Texas Transportation Code. If you are a driver and you hit an object or a person, you are required to do several things. You will be criminally prosecuted if you do not follow these laws.
- If you hit a person, you must stop and attempt to render aid. You must also contact the police and make sure that they have your information. You will face severe fines and possible jail time if you flee. This is especially true if you cause serious injury or death.
- If you hit an occupied vehicle, you must stop and render aid and provide personal information. Police also request that you move your car to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic.
- If you hit an unoccupied vehicle, you should try to locate the driver or at least leave your contact information so they may contact you.
- If you hit an object, you need to take reasonable steps to report the damage and leave your contact information.