A hit-and-run accident every two hours

According to figures released by the road safety institute Vias there is a hit-and-run accident in which someone is either killed or injured every two hour hours in Belgium. Vias calls for a clamp down on drink driving and driving without insurance.

The Vias Institute analysed figures from the Federal Economics department. The figures show that last year there were 4,200 accidents in Belgium involving hit-and-run drivers. This is an increase of 5% in comparison with the figures from 2007.   

However, the total number of road traffic accidents involving injury fell by 22% during the same period. This points to an increase in the number of hit-an-run accidents. In 2007 the percentage of road traffic accident involving death or injury was 9%. This had increased to 11% last year.

Cyclists and pedestrian are disproportionally over-represented among those killed and injured by hit-an-run drivers. According to Vias 54% of those killed by hit-and-run drivers are pedestrians and one-in-five is a cyclist.  

80% of hit and run accidents happen during the day.

From a sample of 850 drivers that were convicted of leaving the scene of an accident. 86% were male and 50% were under the age of 25. 42% of hit-and-run drivers cite having used drugs of being over the drink driving limit as being the main the reason for them having driven off. Not being insured is another reason as is fear of damage to their reputation. According to Vias only a very small number of hit-and-run drivers have no conscious.  

Sentences for hit-and-run drivers were increased from 15 February. However, Vias believes that the best way to dissuade motorists from driving away from the scene of an accident is to increase the chance of them being caught for offenses should as drink driving.