The psychology of `hit and run`
`Hit and run` is one of those phrases that most people are familiar with but arguably lack a clear understanding of how much of an issue it is in terms of the social and financial impact.
At MIB we deal with the consequences of hit and run driving on a daily basis, and sometimes they can be catastrophic, leading to family heartache and huge financial cost.
Which is why we have been keen for a while to understand why drivers `do hit and then run` and their motivation behind this.
Research commissioned from the University of Leicester and reported on MIB’s website today (19 April) click here involved a survey of almost 700 drivers with endorsements for failing to stop after an accident.
This work is ongoing with further detailed investigation and analysis still being done. However, in this interim report the results are quite surprising. For example, 45 per cent of drivers interviewed say they would not have left the scene of the accident if they had known that by doing so they were committing an offence.
As Dave Jones, head of roads policing at the National Police Chief’s Council, comments in the Daily Telegraph: “If you witness a crash – however small – we would ask people to take a note of the registration plate and a description of the driver”.
In other words if you are involved in an accident, you are obliged by law to stop and report it - and if you don’t then someone may well report you if you decide to flee.
It has been very useful speaking to newspapers and radio stations about the research, in conjunction with the University of Leicester and raising awareness about the problem. The topic has seen coverage across 14 national broadcast, newspaper and online titles, over 40 regional titles and several trade media at the time of writing.
The points we have been making to the media have been:
- Failing to report an accident is a major problem and we are not doing enough to combat it;
- MIB has worked with the Government and the insurance industry to help reduce uninsured driving by almost a half over the past decade but hit and run isn’t being tackled and we are currently dealing with 16,000 hit and run claims per year;
- This is a problem that impacts every driver financially as we have to bear the cost of the claims;
- If you are involved in an accident, however minor, and don’t stop and report it, you are guilty of two separate offences. They both carry potentially serious consequences.
Ashton West OBE