February is Hit and Run Awareness Month
The Hit and Run Awareness Month recognized by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is trying to remind all drivers to stay at the scene when involved in a crash. The initiative seeks to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida in partnership with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – The Auto Club Group.
Staying at the scene when involved in a car crash is not only the law, but ensures that those impacted by a crash are safely assisted. 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. If you are choosing to leave the scene, you license will be revoked for at least three years and you can also be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.
All motorists involved in a crash must be prepared to act responsibly and in accordance with state law. Motorists are required to stay at the scene, provide certain information to the other parties involved and contact necessary law enforcement and first responders. These actions may save a life, said DHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes.
In 2016, there were 99,004 hit and run crashes in Florida with 15,851 resulting charges. Bicyclists and pedestrians, are particularly at risk for drivers leaving the scene. In the same year, of the 179 hit and run fatalities, more than 55 percent were pedestrians.
Leaving the scene of a crash is dangerous, and it can be deadly. Help our officers render aid and protect lives by making the responsible decision to remain at the scene and immediately contact first responders. Don’t make a bad situation even worse by leaving – it’s a felony, said Coconut Creek Police Chief Albert (Butch) Arenal, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.
So, remember that the most important thing you can do when you are involved in a crash is to stay at the scene and call for help. The public is encouraged to report hit and run crashes by dialing *FHP (*347).