Police issue reminder after investigating more than 7,000 hit-and-runs last year
Published Friday, January 18, 2013 10:01AM MST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 6:26PM MST
Edmonton police are reminding drivers what to do if they’re involved in a hit-and-run, after officers investigated more than 7,000 cases where a driver had fled after a collision last year.
Police say from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012, officers investigated 7,471 hit-and-run collisions, with about five per cent of that number involving pedestrians.
Drivers are being reminded to write down or take a photo of the license plate number of the other vehicle before pulling over to the side of the road to exchange information, as many have been tricked when the driver of the offending vehicle takes off or appears to pull over, but then speeds away.
"When you're involved in these things, take a minute and really document the vehicle that you're involved with. In a rear-end scenario they'll wave and say, let's pull off here out of traffic. The first vehicle does pull off and the second vehicle keeps going or hangs a left and goes a different direction and the person who has been hit hasn't collected any information, being a trusting person," said Sgt. Kerry Bates.
"Take a second with the technology available today, with cell phone cameras and that sort of thing, snap a picture of the car, snap a picture of the licensep late, snap a picture of the person driving the car."
Police say the more than 7,000 collision figure is consistent over the last three years and are also on par with the number of hit-and-runs investigated in Calgary.
Most hit-and-runs occur during winter, in bad weather, and are typically in busy parking lots.
Bates says police have seen an increase in fender-benders, where some drivers flee before exchanging information.
He says without proper identification, there's not much insurance companies can do to help the victim.
Bates recommends getting a description of the vehicle and noting the direction of travel, then calling the Edmonton Police Service complaint line to report the collision at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.
Failing to remain at the scene of a collision, or not providing your name, vehicle registration and insurance information, is a violation under the Traffic Safety Act.
Officers are reminding drivers that some circumstances can lead to a criminal code charge of failing to stop at the scene of an accident, which could result in a five year jail sentence.
Any collision over $2,000, or accidents involving even minor injuries, must be reported to police.
Bates says there was approximately 35,000 collisions in Edmonton last year.
With files from Ashley Molnar