According to an article in the Huffington Post, Miami-Dade County ranks the highest in the state when it comes to hit-and-run crashes. In 2012, there were more than 35 hit-and-runs per day, on average, for a total of 12,813 accidents in which drivers fled. In fact, South Florida accounts for a full third of all the hit-and-runs in Florida, which, in 2012, was nearly 70,000 hit-and-run accidents. The human toll of these accidents is staggering: 17,000 people injured and 166 killed. Oddly enough, the state laws actually provide a sort of incentive for an impaired driver to flee the scene, particularly if injury or death occurred.
If a Florida driver sobers up prior to turning themselves in, they will ultimately face less jail time than those convicted of DUI manslaughter. Miami Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla introduced a bill which would increase the mandatory sentences for the impaired driver who flees the scene of an accident with fatal injuries. The Senator wants these drivers to spend at least ten years behind bars–significantly more than the four they face if convicted on DUI manslaughter charges. Diaz de la Portilla strongly believes the laws should not be easier on those who leave the scene of an accident, perhaps leaving people to die who might have been saved if medical attention had been received in time.
Just a few of the many Miami hit-and-run accidents, which have occurred within the past week or so include the following:
Two of the above hit-and-run accidents involved pedestrians, one involved a bicyclist and one another driver. Three out of every five fatalities in 2012 were pedestrians struck in a hit-and-run accident, and Miami is the fourth most dangerous city in the nation for pedestrians. Unfortunately, three other Florida cities ranked above Miami–Orlando-Kissimmee (1) Tampa-St. Petersburg (2) and Jacksonville (3).
If you wonder why there are so many hit-and-run accidents in the Miami area, there are a few theories. Drivers who are driving without a valid license, uninsured or impaired, typically want to avoid taking responsibility for an accident. The second theory lies in poor city planning and design–according to Transportation for America, there are few safe spaces for walkers and bicyclists in Miami. Finally, distracted driving, which has become a factor in almost every automobile accident, has led to an increase in hit-and-run accidents. Distractions such as cell phone use, pets, children, map-reading, fiddling with the radio or GPS and eating can all lead to an accident.