In 2008, Marion County has seen an increase in hit-and-run car accidents resulting in fatalities. Many of these crimes remain unsolved, according to authorities. In 2007, there was a small number of hit-and-run car accidents in the area, none resulting in deaths. This year, there have been six fatal hit-and-run car accidents so far, two involving child victims. Cpl. Mark Weber of the Florida Highway Patrol believes that half of the calls coming into his office are regarding hit-and-run car accidents.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2007, Florida is third in the nation for high rates of hit-and-run cases. The state saw 3 300 such cases in the 2003-2007 time frame. Only Texas and California saw more.
Many authorities say that a number of factors contribute to hit-and-run car accidents in Florida. Reckless driving in remote areas is one cause. However, the increasing number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers in Florida, say authorities, may be one of the main reasons why the number of hit-and-run car accidents is also on the rise.
Authorities claim that in most hit-and-run car accidents, the driver, if found, does not have insurance and a clean record. Drivers with insurance and good driving records tend to stay at the scene. During the holidays, experts believe that DUI cases contribute to hit-and-run car accidents, when drivers do not consider what they are doing when they hit someone.
Some experts think that the poor economy contributes to the number of hit-and-run car accidents, since people are less willing to take time away from work and are less willing to lose income. Most authorities agree, however, that most hit-and-run car accidents are caused by an immediate panic. The driver, for whatever reason, panics and leaves the scene.
During the holidays, the increased number of pedestrian traffic – as people walk to their cars after visiting their friends, or go on walks together while visiting – can also mean more car accidents and pedestrian accidents, especially at night.