LAKE CITY, Fla. -- The Florida Highway Patrol is trying to raise awareness about hit-and-run crashes. The FHP says Florida has seen an increase in fatal hit-and-run crashes during the last two years.
The agency is partnering with the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police of Chiefs Association and the Florida Department of Transportation to combat the problem with the 'Hit & Run Bad 2 Worse' campaign. The campaign aims to reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the consequences they face if they leave a crash scene.
"Hit-and-run crashes are a growing problem in Florida," said FHP Director, Col. David Brierton. "Florida had nearly 70,000 hit-and-run crashes last year. We hope the education awareness campaign and our partnerships with Florida law enforcement agencies and FDOT will help us meet our mission goals of traffic safety."
According to FHP the 70,000 crashes injured 17,000 people and killed 168. FHP says more than seventy thousand people left the scene of a crash. It's a move Florida Highway Patrol's Captain Mark Welch says can bring increased penalties.
"If you leave the scene of a crash that involves a death, you are looking at a penalty of up to ten thousand dollars or thirty years in prison", says Captain Mark Welsh, "If there are injuries, you are looking at a five thousand dollar fine or five years in prison. If there is property damage, you could face up to sixty days in the county jail and a five hundred dollar fine."
The patrol hopes that by highlighting the increased penalties, fewer people will leave the scene of a crash.