Hit, run and get away - 50% do
LA Daily News
Rick Coca, Staff Writer
If you get in a car crash in the San Fernando Valley, there's about a 50-50 chance you'll flee the scene - and get away with it.
Last year, nearly half of all 16,792 Valley traffic collisions were hit-and-runs, and investigators solved just 54percent of the cases, LAPD Valley Traffic Bureau officials said.
"It's astonishing. It's amazing," said LAPD Officer Douglas Larkin, an investigator with Valley Traffic. "A lot of people are just scared. They've never been in an accident before. They don't know what to do."
Throughout Los Angeles and its neighboring cities, hit-and-runs as a percentage of total collisions have remained steady during the past four years.
Still, the Valley and the rest of Los Angeles' hit-and-run percentages are significantly higher than those of Burbank, Glendale and Santa Clarita.
Last year, for example, about 13percent of accidents in Burbank were hit-and-runs, while Santa Clarita saw about 24percent, and Glendale had about 29percent.
When I lived in Boston there was a big problem with hit and runs involving pedestrians. I think a lot of the problem is that there is law saying basically that the ped is always in the right, you're supposed to stop for them. This seems to embolden people to step out in front of cars even when there is no way for a car to stop that fast. The driver knows he is going to get sued and maybe face criminal charges so they run.
I'm surpised they solve 54%.
First you have to identify the suspect vehicle, hopefully someone gets the plate number. Often not.
Then there is the greater issue of establishing who the driver of the car was. You cant just prosecute the registered owner. You have to be able to prove to a traffic commisioner or a jury that the defendant was the driver of that vehicle at the time of the collision.