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Seeing Huge Spike In Hit And Run Crashes, Officials Urge Motorists To 'Stay At The Scene'

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' website

This month is Hit and Run Awareness Month, and the Florida Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to stay at the scene after a crash. FHP Lt. Pat Riordan says it’s not only the law, it could help save a life.

“And, it’s important for people to recognize that if they do the right thing from the get go and they stay at the scene, they call law enforcement,” he said. “You know, generally, law enforcement is going to be there quickly, but in the meantime, citizens can take and render aid to anybody that’s been injured.”

Last year, there were more than 99,000 hit and run crashes in Florida. That’s a huge spike from the year before, which had around 92,000.

“You know, that’s a lot of crashes, where people have not done the right thing,” Riordan added. “You know, the interesting thing is about 84 percent of hit and run crashes are property damage, like striking a mailbox, an unattended car, a fence, and it’s as simple as recognizing the law requires you remain at the scene until law enforcement is notified.”

While motorists who leave after causing property damage will face misdemeanor charges, drivers who leave the scene of a deadly crash will face felony charges. In 2016, 179 resulted in fatalities.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.