Channel 4 reports that Florida law enforcement officials are saying that hit-and-run crashes are increasing at an alarming rate. Consequently, they are launching a new campaign to let drivers know that leaving the scene of an accident can result in harsh penalties. Florida had more than 80,000 crashes last year in which one or more of the vehicles left before police arrived. Fatal hit-and-run crashes increased by 23 percent in Florida between 2013 and 2014 and nearly half of those victims were pedestrians. Even though Gov. Rick Scott signed a law last year that makes it a second-degree felony and requiring a mandatory minimum four year sentence for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, people are still leaving the scene of the accident. Drivers need to know that if they leave an accident, they could also have their license revoked for three years under the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act. If the driver was under the influence during a fatal crash, the law increases the mandatory minimum sentence from two to four years in prison.
“Leaving the scene makes the situation worse, not only for those who flee, but even more so for the victims left behind,” said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “It is crucial that all individuals involved in a crash, including witnesses to a crash, contact 911 and remain at the scene until help arrives. Every life matters and every second counts.”
Law enforcement officials say those involved in an accident should call law enforcement, remain calm, get vehicle witness and driver information, sketch the scene to show vehicle crash locations and help the injured.