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Witnesses Can Level the Playing Field Against Hit-and-Run Drivers

Aug 13, 2015 - Car Accidents by

Even as traffic deaths are declining, hit-and-run fatalities appear to be on the rise across the U.S. Just as disturbing, hit-and-run drivers often get away with their crimes. While police can sometimes find these criminals when their vehicles carry identifying evidence and remain in the area, witnesses are the best way to ensure that hit-and-run drivers are held accountable for their actions.

Our Charlotte hit and run lawyers conduct thorough investigations to locate witnesses, and we encourage North Carolina legislators to consider taking extra measures to expand the witness pool.

One Witness Account Led to a Hit-and-Run Driver’s Arrest
In March, 2015, a hit-and-run driver was identified and found, thanks to witness testimony. According to NBC Charlotte, a moped driver waiting to make a left turn was rear-ended by a car, sending the moped into oncoming traffic and killing him on the scene. While the oncoming vehicle driver stopped, the driver who hit the moped fled.

Thankfully, a witness was able to provide a vehicle description, along with a tag number. Police used this information to find the driver’s address and found him and his vehicle. He was charged with DWI, felony hit-and-run and felony death by vehicle.

Hit-and-Run Emergency Alerts Enacted Elsewhere
Last year, the state of California enacted a new yellow-alert system to help find hit-and-run drivers who kill or severely injury individuals on the road. In spite of concerns that this type of notification could potentially result in notification overload, proponents of the bill argued that such a system is justified based on the following rationale:

  • Increasing numbers of people walk and bike, creating an emergency situation, based on the number of injuries and fatalities.
  • As many as 20 percent of pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes in 2012 were victims of hit-and-run drivers.
  • In 2012, a similar system in Denver apprehended 76 percent of hit-and-run drivers broadcasted on the emergency notification system.

Although the bill’s provisions do not require the same type of information blanket provided by the emergency alert system pertaining to child abductions, California legislators felt confident that more drivers are likely to remain on the scene if they believe they are likely to get caught. Similarly, North Carolina may benefit from having similar legislation on the books.

Hit-and-Run Cases Involve Complex Circumstances for Victims
Even when police catch hit-and-run drivers, accident victims need to recognize that the legal cases are typically more complex than many other types of motor vehicle accident cases. As illustrated in the case of the moped accident, hit-and-run drivers face one or more serious criminal charges — in addition to their civil liability for the fatalities or injuries that they cause.

This is why it is so important to get in touch with a law firm with experience in sorting through complex issues while focusing on the needs of accident victims and their families. To learn how we can help, call us at 844-452-3688 or use our convenient online contact form.