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Hit and Run Incidents on the Rise But so are the Penalties

FLORIDA – According to the Florida Highway Patrol, there were more than 80,000 hit and run crashes in Florida last year, a seven percent increase from 2013.

Because RNRF covers traffic accidents, we know all too well the number hit and runs that occur right here in Hernando County.

In January, 53-year-old Thomas Elliot Downing, of Spring Hill, was struck and killed while riding his bike in Hudson. Just a few days prior, a woman’s car flipped several times on Mariner Blvd, after a vehicle clipped her vehicle and sped away. On the day after Christmas last hear, two teens were struck, while sitting on the corner of Parlow Ave and Centerwood Ave; one of the teens sustained serious injuries as a result.

According to a statement from Officials in Tallahassee, Florida has experienced an alarming increase in the number of fatal hit and run crashes during the last two years.  The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is partnering with the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA), the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to get the message out that fleeing the scene of an accident can result in tougher penalties.

Last year, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act was signed into law by Governor Scott.  The law enhances the penalties for leaving the scene of a crash. For example, if someone leaves the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily harm, the penalty in now a 2nd degree felony. A minimum mandatory sentence will be imposed on anyone convicted of a hit and run, resulting in the death of a person.

Leaving the scene makes the situation worse, not only for those who flee, but even more so for the victims left behind,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “It is crucial that all individuals involved in a crash, including witnesses to a crash, contact 911 and remain at the scene until help arrives. Every life matters and every second counts.”

Follow this link for more information on hit and run crashes:www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/hitrun/

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