Stay at the Scene: Florida Highway Patrol’s new campaign
Raising awareness against leaving the scene of an accident
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Florida Highway Patrol is trying to keep roads safe through this month’s campaign, “Stay at the Scene”.
FHP troopers are reminding Floridians about the consequences of leaving the scene of a crash that results in property damage, injury, or death. Not only is it against the law, but it endangers everyone involved.
“Please stay at the scene,” Lieutenant Jason King said. “We even say this: if you think you’re driving intoxicated on your spring break visit, as sad as it may be and as scary as it may be, it’s better to get a DUI charge and stay at the scene than face up to 30 years in prison and over $10,000 worth in fines.”
2022′s hit-and-run crashes resulted in 266 fatalities and 1,007 serious bodily injuries. Of the fatalities, 144 were pedestrians and 50 were bicyclists.
No matter what the circumstances are when someone flees the scene, troopers say the situation can get even worse.
“No matter what your situation is; no divers license, suspended license, driving intoxicated all the consequences are far less great if you stay at the scene,” King said.
If the crash involves property damage, leaving the scene classifies as a second-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Leaving the scene of a crash with injuries is a second or third-degree felony and a driver, if convicted, would have their driver’s license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced up to five years in prison and incur a $5,000 fine.
Drivers leaving the scene of a fatality could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison and incur a $10,000 fine.
Lieutenant King told NewsChannel that even if someone is a victim and not at fault in a crash, they can still get in trouble for fleeing the scene.
“As crazy as it could be, they could be in a crash and it not be their fault, not get charged,” King said. “But if they get scared and leave the scene, they could now be charged with leaving the scene of a crash with damage or injury.”
FHP is encouraging the public to keep the following steps in mind if you’re involved in a crash:
- Make sure you and any passengers are okay. Remain calm.
- If possible, move to the side of the road. Remove your keys if you get out of your vehicle, move off the roadway, and stay in a safe area.
- Check on others involved. Call 911 if anyone might be injured or a vehicle is inoperable.
- If there are no injuries or major property damage, gather information. Get the name, driver license, insurance and tag information from the other driver(s). Take photos of the vehicles and information if you can’t write it down and then file a report online.
- Most importantly, always stay at the scene. Leaving the scene of a crash will only make matters worse. Staying at the scene will not only spare a driver significant legal penalty, but it may save a life.
- Even a small tip can help solve a hit-and-run case. If you see something, say something. If you have information on a hit-and-run crash, you can report it by calling *FHP (*347) or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at **TIPS (8477)
“The quicker we can respond, the safer everything can move on the roadside if we can get everything freed up and everybody go on their way,” King said.
The full press release on the campaign can be found here.
You can also learn more at flhsmv.gov/stayatthescene.
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