Why Hit and Run Accidents in Arkansas are So Tragic
A terrifying pedestrian accident in Arkansas that left one person injured and one in jail represents what a “typical” hit and run in our state looks like.
On January 21st of this year, a woman was walking east along Johnson Avenue in Jonesboro, Arkansas when a black sedan struck her. Thankfully the blow was just a glancing one and (though the victim was injured) the woman is likely to make a full recovery.
However, instead of stopping to see if the victim was okay or to offer what aid they could, the driver of the car sped off, leaving the victim lying in the roadway. This tragic tale could have ended much worse but the victim was able to get herself to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Emergency room attendants notified local police and—after taking a statement from the victim who clearly identified the make and model—the cops searched for and found the suspect’s car. They detained the driver, who—in addition to striking a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of a collision—was operating the automobile with a suspended license. The individual was arrested and is now facing multiple charges.
Hit and Run Accidents in Arkansas On the Rise
Hit and run accidents are on the rise according to nationwide crash statistics collated by the American Automobile Association (AAA). Between 2009 and 2016 the number of hit and run accidents rose a staggering 60%, topping off at just over 737,000. That means that in 2016 (the last year for which there are currently accurate stats) there was more than one hit and run accident every minute. That makes hit and run accidents one of the most common types of collisions in The United States, representing nearly 12% of all crashes.
Why Do Drivers Run?
Many drivers who strike pedestrians and other vehicles run out of fear, out of guilt, and out of fear of the consequences of their actions.
However, as noted in the description of the pedestrian accident in Arkansas above, many drivers also run because they are already in trouble with the law. Suspended licenses, warrants for arrest, use or possession of illegal substances, operating under the influence, and parole violations are all powerful motivators for drivers to flee when they strike pedestrians or other automobiles.
Indeed, unlicensed drivers are over 9 times more likely to run after being involved in a collision.
However, running doesn’t work. Nationwide statistics show that police have an amazingly high apprehension/conviction rate when it comes to hit and run drivers. This is often thanks to eyewitness accounts, video footage, and other evidence collected at the scene which allows them to accurately identify and track at-fault drivers and their vehicles.
Many Victims Could Be Saved
Perhaps the most grievous tragedy associated with hit and run accidents in Arkansas is that many victims could have survived had the at-fault driver stopped, offered aid, and called for emergency services.
One study published in The California Journal of Emergency Medicine found that the number one indicator of a victim’s chances of survival is how fast pre-hospital emergency care (EMTs and other first responders) arrive at the scene of an accident and begin to treat the victim’s injuries. Indeed, the rate of pre-hospital arrival deaths for car accident victims in the United States (which has a relatively fast emergency response rate) was just 21% compared to over 50% in countries that have much less organized EMT services.
Defending Yourself After a Pedestrian Accident in Arkansas
If you’ve been hit by a driver while crossing the street, walking alongside the road, or strolling along a sidewalk in our state, the law is on your side. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Arkansas can help you hold an at-fault driver responsible even if the police fail to file criminal charges against the driver.