The start of hit-and-run awareness month brings concerning news: fatalities from hit-and-runs have risen in Florida since 2018.
In 2021, there was about a 17% increase of total hit-and-run crashes, about an 18% increase of fatalities and a 20% increase of all serious injuries compared to 2020, the Feb. 1 FLHSMV press release said.
About 70% of hit-and-run deaths in 2021 were pedestrians or cyclists, according to FLHSMV’s press release.
While the amount of hit-and-run crashes and serious injuries have fluctuated, fatalities have steadily increased since 2018.
Gainesville has witnessed multiple pedestrian deaths over the past few years. With the support from student groups, like Florida Not One More, and a lowered speed limit coming to the city, Riordan believes these efforts could bring safer roadways and less hit-and-run accidents.
Alachua County had 16 reported hit-and-run fatalities since 2015, according to the FLHSMV data. Only four fatalities in daylight and 12 fatalities during dawn, dusk or nighttime.
Across all of Florida since 2015, there were 1,606 reported hit-and-run fatalities. About 15% of the fatalities were during daylight, and about 84% of the fatalities were during dawn, dusk or nighttime.
“Drivers who choose to flee after being involved in a crash that results in property damage, injury or death are not just breaking the law,” FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes said in the press release. “They are displaying a blatant disregard for the life and property of others.”
FHP works closely with Crime Stoppers of Florida, a nonprofit organization that encourages citizens to anonymously report crimes to help law enforcement, FHP Troop B spokesperson Patrick Riordan said.
“We recognize it’s a problem, and we want to stay out in front of it as much as we can,” Riordan said.
Many hit-and-run cases have ongoing investigations, which is why the FHP encourages reporting any tips.
“We would just like somebody to pick up the phone or drop one of these tips anonymously with Crime Stoppers,” Riordan said. “And possibly, get some closure for families that are the victim of these hit-and-runs.”
Contact Troy Myers at @firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Troy_Myers1.
Troy is the criminal justice reporter and a fourth-year journalism major with an outside focus in business administration. He previously studied accounting for two years at Santa Fe College but has since transferred to UFCJC. When Troy isn’t writing, he enjoys going to the beach and spending time with his dog, identical twin brother and family.