“[I]f you wanted to murder someone,” says one state legislator, “it would almost be better to just hit them with your car.”
And the reason for that felonious strategy would be simple and eminently rational: you likely wouldn’t get caught.
In fact, according to a somewhat seasoned article from the Los Angeles Times that still commands strong relevance regarding the topic of hit-and-run accidents and their outsized risks to pedestrians and bicyclists, shockingly few people do get apprehended when they flee after striking a vulnerable victim.
Over a recent measuring period of several years, for example, the Los Angeles Police Department reportedly identified only about 20 percent of all hit-and-run drivers across the city.
And here’s a statistic that’s even more riveting and flatly depressing than that: When a motorist was identified, he or she was arrested in about half of all instances, meaning ultimately that only about one of every 10 hit-and-run accidents in Los Angeles over a multi-year period yielded an arrest.
Although it may be a perverse way to note the phenomenon of motor vehicle hit-and-run incidents, it bears noting just how egalitarian they are.
And by that, we mean this: In the 5,600-plus case examinations of such accidents that LAPD officials looked at over a 10-year period (36 of those were fatal), the range of victims spanned nearly a century.
To wit: They youngest person struck by a hit-and-run driver was only one year old. And at the other end of the age spectrum resided a 99-year-old victim.
This singular traffic safety problem will certainly persist across Los Angeles County despite authorities’ efforts to curtail it, although it is of course hoped that a renewed focus on the matter will dampen accident-related numbers.
That focus needs to be strong and unrelenting, given the city’s recent initiatives that seek to encourage a greater sharing of streets and public places among motorized vehicles, bikers and pedestrians.