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Hit-and-run accidents troublesome; a growing phenomenon

Pedestrians across the country, including in Ohio, must obviously remain vigilant about safety when they are going about their business anywhere near traffic.

Statistics — both stark and sad — readily support that assertion, with car crash-related numbers indicating just how serious an issue pedestrian safety is nationally.

And what traffic authorities are finding particularly troublesome is that, while traffic deaths have been falling across the country in recent years, that same welcome decline is not being witnessed with hit-and-run accidents that result in pedestrians’ serious injuries or deaths.

Those accidents are, in fact, on the upswing, with data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating a nearly 14 percent rise in hit-and-run fatalities over a recent three-year period.

What can be done about that?

There is no easy solution, with one executive from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety noting that, “The main thing we can do as a society to sort of combat this problem is to simply be more alert as pedestrians.”

Although heightened alertness among pedestrians is obviously a key factor in driving down accident-related numbers, it is obviously not enough to buck an evident and worrisome trend.

And thus lawmakers have stepped in, with many states adopting or debating laws providing for harsher penalties against drivers who strike pedestrians and then leave an accident scene.

Alcohol is a common catalyst in hit-and-run accidents, with an Ohio-related case involving a DUI crash and pedestrian death recently receiving widespread media attention.

We reported on that case in our October 24, 2013, blog post. It continues to serve as the backdrop for much discussion concerning the growing problem of hit-and-run crashes nationally.

Source: USA TODAY, “Fatal hit-and-run crashes on rise in U.S.,” Larry Copeland, Nov. 10, 2013