Hit and Run Incidents on the Rise Even with a Decline in Uninsured Drivers
posted on Apr 27 2016 by
You'd hope to see a see a reduction in hit and run incidents with the decline in uninsured drivers on the road however, according to new research, this unfortunately isn’t the case.
The Motor Insurers' Bureau said that the number of uninsured drivers had declined from two million in 2005 to one million this year but found that hit and run convictions hadn't declined at the same rate.
To gain a greater understanding of why hit and run figures remained so high, the MIB commissioned a new study that found half of those convicted didn't think the accident was serious enough to report or were unaware they had to report it at all.
Department for Transport data released last year said there were a total of 163,554 road traffic accidents where an injury was sustained in 2014.
Of these, 10 per cent involved a hit and run driver, the MIB said.
Based on responses from 695 drivers convicted for a hit and run offence, almost a third (29 per cent) said they didn't think the accident was serious enough to report and one in five was unaware it was their responsibility to report the incident.
When quizzed by the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester, 45 per cent of the total respondents said they would have reported it if they had known that they were going to commit an offence by leaving the scene of the accident.
The University of Leicester also found that 16 to 34-year-olds were more likely to leave the scene of an accident because they were not insured, had been drinking, were scared of the consequences or had 'panicked'.
Six per cent of these younger drivers also said that nothing would have made them stop and report the accident - they were determined to get away with the offence.
Ashton West OBE, chief executive of MIB, called for further research to understand the reason for the high number of hit and run accidents.
'Until now we have focused very much on dealing with the problem of driving without insurance, he said.
'Whilst the level of uninsured driving in the UK has halved in the last 10 years, the number of claims reported to the MIB from 'hit and run' incidents has not fallen by anywhere near this amount.
'We are working to raise awareness of 'hit and run' offences and the impact on society with the ultimate aim of bringing the number of incidents down.
'The completion of this independent research will provide useful insights which we will share with the government, police, the insurance industry and other interested bodies so that we can take action to tackle this problem together.'
According to the research, the public plays a massive role in tracing 'hit and run' drivers.
More than half of the survey respondents said they had been traced through pedestrians and other drivers who witnessed the accident, the MIB found.
Commenting on the findings Dr Matt Hopkins, senior lecturer at the University of Leicester, said: 'As relatively little previous work in relation to 'hit and run' accidents has included any personal engagement with offenders, this research is fairly novel.
'Of course, these findings have to be treated with caution, but they do begin to highlight some of the reasons why drivers leave the scene of an accident.
'For a number of drivers there is clearly confusion about the legal requirement to report an accident, but importantly, some differences are observed between younger and older drivers that could be developed into preventative strategies.
'Further work is required to gain more detailed understanding of driver motivations to leave the scene from across a range of accident types.'