Hit-and-run crash deaths reach a record high nationwide

WASHINGTON — The number of people killed in hit-and-run crashes in the U.S. has reached a record high, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The report finds hit-and-runs killed 2,049 people nationwide in 2016, up from 1,819 the year before.

It’s the largest total since 1975, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started keeping statistics on these type of deaths.

“Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem,” said David Yang, the foundation’s executive director.

In D.C., there were six hit-and-run crashes that resulted in at least one death in 2016, down from seven the year before.

Maryland counted 25 such crashes in 2016, down from 31 in 2015.

Virginia’s 2016 total was 32, up from 23 the previous year.

The report also finds nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit and runs are pedestrians or bicyclists.

AAA Mid-Atlantic urges drivers to yield to pedestrians at all times, even when that person is not in a crosswalk.

Here are more facts contained in the report about hit-and-run crashes in the U.S.:

  • A hit-and-run crash happens about every 43 seconds in the U.S.
  • Earlier studies show drivers involved in hit-and-run crashes are more likely to be young males and have a history of DWI and license suspension.
  • A 2012 study found males make up about 70 percent of hit-and-run victims when a crash involves one car and one pedestrian.
  • Thirty four percent of pedestrians killed in hit-and-runs were found to have a blood alcohol concentration level more than 0.08, according to a 2017 study.
  • Previous studies show only about half of all hit-and-run drivers are eventually identified.
Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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