The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is recognizing February as Hit and Run Awareness Month and is reminding all drivers to stay at the scene if involved in a crash.
The campaign seeks to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Crimestoppers and AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“If you are involved in a crash, Stay at the Scene. Not only is it the law, but doing so could save a life,” said DHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Leaving the scene of the crash will ensure you receive more serious penalties, no matter the severity of the crash. Hit and run crashes have an enormous impact to Florida’s communities and our department is dedicated to solving these cases. I implore members of the public to report any information on hit and run crashes anonymously to Crime Stoppers.”
Preliminary estimates reveal there were more than 90,000 hit and run crashes in Florida in 2018. Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property that results in injury or death. Leaving the scene is a felony and a convicted driver will have their license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.
“It is your responsibility under the law, and to the other parties involved, to stay at the scene of a crash,” said Florida Highway Patrol Director, Colonel Gene S. Spaulding. “Although being involved in a crash is a traumatic experience, you should remain calm, render first aid if necessary, and remove your vehicle from the roadway as soon as possible to prevent secondary crashes.”
Although bicyclists and pedestrians are involved in a small percentage of hit and run crashes overall, pedestrians made up 59 percent and bicyclists made up 15 percent of all hit and run fatalities.
Members of the public are encouraged to report hit and run crashes by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information on hit and runs and staying at the scene, visit: https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/hitrun/.