Hit and run collisions are a dangerous traffic violation that need to be stamped out. These are the states that are most guilty.
In the United States, it’s estimated that nearly six million car accidents occur each year. That’s over 11 collisions every minute. These collisions, as one might imagine, are wildly unsafe. About three million people each year are injured in one of those crashes. But whether it’s because of fear or simply not wanting to take responsibility for their actions, guilty motorists will sometimes flee the scene without reporting the accident, compounding the severity of the accidents by prolonging the amount of time it takes for injured pedestrians to get help.
The practice of hit and runs certainly occurs everywhere in the country, but as is inevitable, it’s particularly common in certain areas. Curious about which states have the highest share of drivers with a hit-and-run, researchers at Insurify ran the numbers. Here are the top 10.
To determine which states have the highest percentage of drivers with a prior hit and run offense, data scientists at Insurify pulled the numbers from their database of over 1.9 million car insurance applications. To apply for quotes, drivers input personal information and driving history, including the state they live in and whether they have been cited for a hit and run, which is defined as the failure to stop and report an accident. The amount of drivers with a hit and run violation was analyzed against the total number of motorists in each state to determine the proportion of drivers in each state with a hit and run. The states with the top 10 rates were then selected. Data on the number of fatalities per 100,000 drivers comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while information about the percentage of motorists with a prior accident was also found in the Insurify database.
West Virginia doesn’t just have an issue with hit and runs. The Mountain State also has a rate of vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers that is nearly 50 percent greater than the national average. However, lawmakers in West Virginia also recently implemented a new law stating that any driver involved in an accident that causes injury or death must immediately stop the vehicle as close as possible to the scene until the police give them leave. Failure to adhere to the legislation is a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison.
The percentage of drivers in the Sunflower State with a prior accident is below the national average, though Kansas’ rate of vehicle-related fatalities is also significantly above the national mean. Much like West Virginia, state legislators in Kansas also recently strengthened penalties related to hit and run incidents. House Bill 2044, passed in 2011, states that leaving the scene of an accident is a felony offense punishable by jail time.
In addition to having problems with hit and run offenses, Ohio is one of four states in the top 10 with a prior accident rate above the national average. To make matters worse, the Buckeye State also has other traffic safety problems that it has to figure out. In Ohio, 16.52 percent of drivers have at least one prior speeding ticket on their driving record. Only Iowa and Virginia have a higher proportion of drivers with a speeding ticket.
In terms of fatalities, Utah is actually a pretty safe spot to drive. Just eleven other states have a lower rate of vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers, and the percentage of motorists with a prior DWI (driving while intoxicated) offense is right around the national average of 2.23 percent. However, Utah also has the seventh-highest share of drivers with a hit and run offense, as well as a proportion of drivers with a prior accident more than 10 percent greater than the national average, indicating that the Beehive state still has room for improvement when it comes to vehicle safety.
One of just two states on the East coast that makes the top 10, Connecticut actually has the eighth-lowest rate of vehicle-related fatalities among all states. However, the state clearly has some work to do on the hit-and-run front. Evasion of responsibility from an accident in the Constitution State remains on a motorist’s driving record for up to 10 years, though the actual act of a hit and run is punishable by up to 10 years in prison for only the most severe of offenses, such as a hit and run that ends in a fatality.
The other of the two states on the list on the East Coast, Virginia doesn’t just have a problem with hit and run offenses. It also has the fifth-highest proportion of drivers cited for tailgating among all states, and 17.24 percent of Virginia motorists have a citation for speeding on their records, the highest proportion in the nation.
The sixth-largest state in the country by population, Illinois is one of just three of the 10 largest states by population in the United States that cracks the list. Though it has a proportion of drivers with a hit and run that is nearly twice the national average, the Prairie State does well in other safety metrics—it ranks below average in both the percentage of drivers with a prior accident and the number of vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers.
Michigan is remarkably safe when it comes to accidents in general—it’s share of drivers with a prior accident on their driving record is the lowest of all 50 states. However, Michigan does have the third-highest proportion of motorists with a hit and run violation, despite the severity of laws criminalizing the act. Drivers who are at fault in a hit and run accident that involves severe injury or death face up to 15 years in prison, as well as up to $10,000 in fines.
Iowa is the second-worst state in the country when it comes to hit and run violations, and that’s not the only issue it has with driver safety. A remarkable 16.97 percent of Iowans have a speeding ticket on their record, while 3.45 percent of drivers sport a prior DWI violation. Both of these percentages rank in the top 10 for all states across the country.
No state is worse when it comes to hit and run incidents than Wyoming. It’s rate of drivers with a prior hit and run violation is nearly four times the national average, and nearly 40 percent greater than any other state. To make things worse, the Cowboy State’s rate of vehicle-related fatalities per 100,000 drivers is higher than that of every other state except for Mississippi. Wyoming is the United States’ least populous state, but the statistics still show that it has its fair share of car accidents.
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