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Distracted driving blamed in hit-and-run surge

Automobile service AAA does more than come to your Columbus home when your car won't start. The organization also does research on traffic safety issues. AAA recently released a report that shows hit-and-run crashes are skyrocketing across the nation.

The director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University said distracted driving is behind the surge in hit-and-run motor vehicle accidents: "Motorists who text while driving are especially apt to hit pedestrians. Some, realizing their gross negligence, panic and quickly leave the scene."

The national report shows that 2,049 people died in hit-and-run collisions in 2016, most of them pedestrians or bicyclists. That total is a whopping 60 percent higher than the figure from 2009, said the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

That is the highest number of hit-and-run deaths since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began tracking the figures in 1975. AAA says that it's not just hit-and-runs on the rise - all deadly crashes have gone up in the past several years.

A AAA spokesperson said drivers are more likely to take off after a fatal crash involving a pedestrian or bicyclist than after a collision with another vehicle. It's less likely that a vehicle involved in a fatal crash with another car can even be driven. That is often not the case in pedestrian or bicyclist crashes.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle crash, contact an attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.

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