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Florida Hit-and-Runs On the Rise

Florida Hit-and-Runs On the Rise

The past several years have shown an increase in hit-and-run accidents in Florida.

Central Florida gets about 20 to 25 hit-and-runs a day. Four years ago there was an average of 10 to 14.

There has also been a rise in fatal hit-and-run accidents. In a study of seven central Florida counties, fatal hit-and-runs went from 13 in 2010 to 18 in 2011.

The Florida Highway Patrol is uncertain why we are seeing this rise. Police attribute the actual motivation to run from the scene of an accident to driving drunk, having outstanding warrants and fearing apprehension, or having no vehicle insurance.

Proving who was involved in a hit-and-run can be difficult. Many times even if police are able to track down the vehicle, the person driving was someone different.

"Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Kim Montes said, "the registered owner of the car many times will not cooperate. They will come up with all sorts of scenarios about the car. If we can't prove who was driving the car, we can't charge the owner with anything."

Assuming that police can track down the person that ran from the accident scene, the suspect may face criminal penalties in addition to any civil liability owed to the victim. While hit-and-runs involving just property damage can result in minimal jail time and a fine, running from an accident in which someone was injured is a felony and can result in up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.