Hit-and-run car accidents are a serious problem in Texas. Not only do hit-and-run
drivers fail to take responsibility for their actions, but by not staying
at the scene to render aid, they make it all the more likely that their
victims will die or suffer serious injuries.
Many hit-and-run drivers in Texas are
drunk drivers who flee the scene because they are afraid of getting a DUI. By leaving
the scene, they make it impossible for law enforcement to determine their
blood alcohol content at the time of the crash.
This session, the Texas Legislature is considering legislation that lawmakers
hope will help put a stop to this trend. The bill took a major step forward
last week, when it was passed by a unanimous vote of the Texas Senate.
The bill strengthens the penalties for failure to stop and render aid,
putting them on the same level as those for intoxication manslaughter.
If the bill becomes law, both crimes will be second degree felonies that
can be punished by up to 20 years in prison. Under current law, failure
to stop and render aid is a third degree felony that can be punished by
up to 10 years in prison.
The new law could be of significant benefit in Austin, where many residents
choose to commute on foot or by bike. In 2012, there were 393 hit-and-run
accidents in Austin, more than 45 of which resulted in fatalities.
Texas Hit-and-Run Lawsuits
Of course, it is important to remember that criminal charges are not the
only way for victims to seek justice after hit-and-run
Hit-run-drivers can be held accountable in civil lawsuits, where they may
be required to pay financial compensation to their victims. If the at-fault
driver in a hit-and-run accident cannot be found, victims may be able
to seek compensation under their own uninsured motorist policies.
Our Austin personal injury attorneys can help the victims of Texas hit-and-run
accidents and other car wrecks.
Source: YNN, "Texas Senate unanimously approves tougher hit-and-run penalties," LeAnn Wallace, April 2, 2012.