SAFETY

Fatal hit and runs are up in most of the country, not in Utah

Apr 26, 2018, 6:32 PM | Updated: 6:33 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY – There’s a bad trend happening all over the country involving fatal hit-and-run crashes, but, luckily, Utah has been able to be an exception.

Across the country, over two thousand hit and run deaths happened in 2016, the highest number on record and a 60 percent jump from 2009.  However, it’s a different story in the Beehive State.

“It actually set, pretty much, a six-year low in 2016 with only six,” says AAA of Utah Spokesman Michael Blasky.

Compare that to neighboring Nevada, where more than 30 crashes happened that same year.  Blasky says this could be partly due to more people driving impaired in that state, or due to a different kind of road construction.

“Even their normal roads are like a highway.  So, you’ve got greater danger for pedestrians and cyclists and more people out at night associated with drinking and driving,” he says.

Blasky says many drivers leave the scene simply because they can.

“If you’re in an accident with another vehicle, often times, your car is undriveable,” he says, adding, “When we see the tendency for hit and runs, it’s almost always involving a pedestrian or a cyclist.”

The AAA study New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rates of fatal hit and runs, while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest.  On average, the number of these crashes has gone up 7.2 percent every year since 2009.

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Fatal hit and runs are up in most of the country, not in Utah