The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes in the United States is increasing from year to year, according to USA Today. As hit-and-run crashes become increasingly common, it is important that drivers in Michigan understand Michigan’s laws regarding hit-and-run crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Findings
The USA Today report highlights some of the more noteworthy findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including the following (Note: 2011 is the most recent year for which data is currently available.):
The number of fatal hit-and-run crashes in the United States rose from 1,274 in 2009 to 1,393 in 2010 to 1,449 in 2011.
In that three-year period, hit-and-run deaths increased 13.7 percent despite the fact that traffic deaths in general fell 4.5 percent (from 33,883 in 2009 to 32,367 in 2011).
One-fifth of all pedestrian fatalities are the result of hit-and-run crashes.
60 percent of hit-and-run deaths include pedestrian victims.
Alcohol as a Factor in Hit-and-Run Crashes
Upper Michigan’s Source explains that alcohol is one of the most common factors in hit-and-run crashes. Often, drivers who are involved in hit-and-run crashes have been drinking, and they flee because they do not want to get a DUI.
USA Today also names alcohol as a major part of the problem. In general, drivers are more likely to flee if they believe they have a reason to do so—e.g., if they have been drinking, if they are driving without a driver’s license, if they are very young, etc.
Hit-and-Run Crashes in Michigan
Here are a few things Michigan drivers should know regarding car accidents and hit-and-run crashes in Michigan, per Section 257.617, Section 257.618 and Section 257.618 of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code.
Regarding car accidents in general:
If you have been involved in an accident, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident (Section 257.618).
You must give your information to a police officer, the individual who has been struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which you have collided (Section 257.619). This information includes your name, your address, your vehicle’s registration number and your driver’s license information (Section 257.619).
You must render reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or arrange for or provide transportation for anyone injured in the accident (Section 257.619).
Regarding hit-and-run crashes:
Hit-and-run crashes resulting in damage to a vehicle can result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of not more than $100 or both (Section 257.618).
Hit-and-run crashes resulting in injury to another person can result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both (Section 257.617(a)).
Hit-and-run crashes resulting in severe bodily injury or death will result in felony charges punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of not more than $5,000 or both (Section 257.617).
If you caused the hit-and-run crash resulting in severe bodily injury or death, penalties include up to 15 years in prison, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both (Section 257.617).
If You Are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Crash
If you are involved in an auto accident, Michigan law requires you to stop your vehicle, provide your information and render reasonable assistance to anyone who is injured. If you fail to comply with applicable laws, you could face hit-and-run charges and serious penalties.
Contact a Michigan car accident attorney if you have been involved in an auto accident or a hit-and-run crash in Michigan.