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Courts / Law

Florida Hit-And-Run Deaths Up In 2020

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FLHSMV
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The Florida Highway Patrol is reminding drivers this month that they have to stay at the scene if they are involved in an accident.

There were fewer hit-and-run crashes last year. But fatalities were up by 18 percent.

Hit-and-run crashes were down in 2020. But deaths from such collisions
were up by 18 percent, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

This month, the FLHSMV is trying to make sure drivers in Florida know that they are required by law to stop and stay at the scene if they are involved in a crash.

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins says, so long as drivers are not impaired, they may just receive a traffic ticket.

“Nobody likes to get tickets, but if you drive off and leave the scene, you've now committed a crime that you can go to jail for. And if you leave the scene of a crash with injury or death, you're looking at minimum mandatory jail sentences of up to four years in prison,” Gaskins said.

He said even those in vehicles which are struck by another driver sometimes flee the scene.

“And so a lot of times people they we've had people that literally they got rear-ended in traffic, and then they drive off. And if you got rear-ended, 99% of time, you're going to be the victim in...the traffic crash,” Gaskins said.

And once that happens, and you leave, you are also subject to criminal penalties.

"Whether you cause the crash or not, you're required to remain in at the scene," he said.

Gaskins said law enforcement is trying to track down hit-and-run drivers who have injured or killed people and wants the public’s help to do that.

You can report tips statewide anonymously through Crime Stoppers at **TIPS. And if an arrest is made, you may be eligible for a cash reward.

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