The people of Louisiana can be proud of many things about their state and its residents. But one thing that shouldn’t make that long list is that we are one of the top three states for hit-and-run related fatalities.

According to a new report by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, Louisiana joins New Mexico and Florida as the states with the highest percentage of hit-and-run fatalities per 100,000 people. The study describes hit-and-run events as ones where a driver involved or responsible does not provide any or sufficient information before he or she flees the scene of the crash.

Drawing upon data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), this report’s findings cover hit-and-accidents and fatalities across the United States in 2016 (which is the most recent year with available data). The national total is a record high of 2049 fatalities among a record high of 737,100 hit-and-run crashes. While the states with the largest number of fatalities were California (337 deaths) and Florida (206 deaths), Louisiana’s 42 deaths warrants the highest level because of the number of deaths per 100,000 in the state.

Common themes in these findings

No two crashes are alike with a variety of atmospheric and human variables involved. However, there were some common themes that emerged from the data:

· Pedestrians and bicyclists were by far the most common victims of hit-and-run.

· Often testing above the legal blood alcohol content level of .08 percent, the drivers arrested for hit-and-run were often young males who had been previously convicted of DUI and license suspension.

· Hit-and-run fatalities were least likely to occur when a crash happened in front of a large number or potential witnesses or in a well-lit area.

Leaving the scene makes matters worse

Unfortunately, not staying at the scene of the accident and promptly reporting it to authorities often means medical care isn’t dispatched immediately. This delay in treatment can lead to more severe injuries including death. From a legal standpoint, hit-and-run charges and others that can come with it will make the penalties more severe. Moreover, law enforcement resources are tied up by trying to solve the accident and track down the fleeing driver.

While the urge to flee after an accident may be feel strong, drivers need to remember the victims. These people and their families lives are changed by these crashes. There is the pain and suffering of the resulting injuries, but there is also the loss of income and the expense of medical bills. An attorney can be helpful in exploring compensation for the injury to a victim or death of a loved one involved in a hit-and-run.