The number of hit and run accidents in Nevada is on the rise, but new laws have stiffened the penalties. In the past, Reno drivers faced harsh sentence for driving under the influence, while hit and run consequences remained relatively lax. Lawmakers hope that the new laws will change this pattern.
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The Number of Hit and Runs
The number of hit and run crashes is rising across the nation and many major cities are experiencing the phenomenon in epidemic proportions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of fatal hit and run accidents is steadily increasing. Tragically, the death rate for hit and runs has increased by 13.7%, even while the overall rate for traffic deaths increased by 4.5%.
Pedestrians seem to be most at risk from hit and run accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in every five traffic fatalities is a hit and run and 60% of hit and run fatalities involve a pedestrian victim. New Nevada traffic laws also include penalties for school zone violations, which lawmakers hope will decrease the number of pedestrian accidents.
The Reasons for Hit and Runs
Though the first instinct for most is to stop and help after an accident, not all drivers are inclined to do the same. Until the enactment of new laws that went into effect in Nevada in October of 2015, drunk driving penalties were more severe than those faced by hit and run offenders. This all changed with the enactment of the new traffic laws. Though driving under the influence is still a major factor in many hit and run cases, there are other common perpetrators, including:
- Young drivers who are new to the road
- Prior history of driving under the influence
- Uninsured drivers
- Drivers who are uniformed of the law
- Fear of incarceration or other legal repercussions
- Those with suspended licenses or outstanding registration fees
The aftermath of a hit and run accident can be traumatic, and after a driver leaves the scene, determining liability becomes more of a challenge. A Reno car accident attorney can provide guidance and help to establish a viable case. It’s important for victims to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. While hit and run cases are complicated, the recent update to Nevada traffic laws are designed to work in victims favor.