One of the worst things that can happen to people in California is a hit and run. Sometimes these accidents are little more than a fender-bender, but in other instances, the result is death. Forbes estimates that in 2016 alone, almost 2050 people were killed because of hit-and-runs. These figures represented a 60% climb from where they stood in 2009.
What is worse is that in most instances when the driver fled the scene and left the injured person to die, they were a pedestrian or bicyclist, not another motor vehicle driver. While the study does not specify this, it is reasonable to conclude that many of these victims were children.
Every state has laws in place that prohibit a driver from fleeing the scene after an accident, but this has clearly not stemmed the problem. After all, if the driver is never found or caught, who is going to enforce the law to their detriment? Many may see this as a better gamble than turning themselves in, especially if they were drunk, speeding or otherwise at fault in some way.
Ironically, guilt is often the greatest punishing factor in these cases, causing some people to turn themselves in days later. For victims who may have lived or faced less crippling medical problems if they had received medical attention sooner, this is too little too late.
According to ABC Action News, the drivers responsible for hit-and-run fatalities rarely end up in jail anyway. One proposed reason for that is the escape route of the plea deal. This allows many to avoid incarceration altogether or to significantly reduce the amount of time they would have otherwise spent behind bars. For the victims and their families, this is not enough.