Hit-and-run accidents are more common in Chicago than in many other U.S. cities. When a driver intentionally leaves the scene of a crash without providing contact information, this counts as a hit-and-run accident. This situation happens more often on our streets than most of us would like to believe.
The statistics don’t lie. Between 2005 and 2014, 41% of fatal pedestrian crashes and 22% of fatal bike accidents in Chicago involved hit-and-run drivers. In 2015 alone, there were 53 fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Chicago. A whopping 28% of those fatalities involved a hit-and-run driver. New York City, another major city where you’d expect these numbers to be high, saw more pedestrian/bike fatalities in 2015—133 total—yet only 18% of those crashes involved a hit-and-run.
It’s difficult to discern the cause for this sharp contrast in data points, but the situation begs one question in particular—How often are hit-and-run drivers caught in Chicago in comparison to in other cities?
Obtaining data to attempt to answer this question is difficult, but one thing we can examine are efforts both cities make to curb wrongful behaviors like committing a hit-and-run accident. Leaving the scene of a car accident is illegal in Illinois and can come with strict criminal penalties.
One effort Chicago makes to stop all types of deadly car accidents from occurring is the city’s public goal of zero traffic fatalities. This goal is part of a nationwide initiative program called Vision Zero. Chicago is one of 10 cities across the U.S. that are part of Vision Zero’s focus cities. All 10 of these cities are dedicated to eliminating death and serious injury from traffic crashes by 2026.
Chicago’s version of Vision Zero consists of a few methods to curb death and serious injury. Those methods include collecting and using data to prioritize city resources toward successful approaches, choosing effective street designs that focus on safety, using law enforcement to prevent dangerous roadway behaviors, and working with Chicago’s community leaders and community to educate residents on how to drive and travel from destination to destination safely.
Chicago’s Vision Zero goals, unfortunately, do not include specific ways to stop hit-and-run accidents. New York City’s version of Vision Zero, in comparison, includes harsher hit-and-run penalties that may have an influence on how many hit-and-runs occur. Data shows that after a mere 1% of drivers involved in hit-and-run crashes were prosecuted in New York City, a report was published calling for stiffer penalties and changes in how hit-and-runs are reported and prosecuted. That 1% had a positive effect.
Some Chicago transportation organizations like the Active Transportation Alliance have called on city leaders to focus more on hit-and-run crashes as part of Vision Zero. They suggest that with harsher penalties and better communication in the moments immediately following a hit-and-run accident, guilty drivers will be caught quicker and will be more hesitant to leave the scene of an accident.
If you or someone you love was injured in a hit-and-run accident in Chicago, you may be able to take legal action with the help of the Chicago car accident lawyers from Krzak Rundio Law Group. We can help hold the guilty driver accountable. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
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