Jacksonville, FL - There’s a rising and potentially costly crime on the roads you drive every day.
The Florida Highway Patrol in Northeast Florida is reporting an increase in the number of hit-and-run crashes. Sergeant Dylan Bryan says the severity of the crashes vary, as do the causes- from following too closely to speeding or improper lane changes. While some who flee do so with criminal intent- to avoid an outstanding warrant as an example- others just don’t want to wait around.
“It only takes a few seconds for that vehicle to be gone,” Bryan says.
Since the Florida Highway Patrol began monitoring more roads in Jacksonville specifically, following budget cuts to JSO about a year and a half ago, Bryan says response times have climbed because of the increased caseload.
“The person just gets impatient and then leaves the scene,” he says.
He says the FHP office in Tallahassee has noted the problem, and is diverting resources from around the state to our region to help make up some of the difference. There are also many recruits working through training and getting closer to hitting the road to patrol.
“It will take time, but we do have help on the way,” he says.
Until this boost sinks in, however, FHP wants to make sure you protect yourself if you’re involved in a crash. Bryan says you should stay on scene and calm. Take note of any identifying characteristics on the other car, whether it be a bumper sticker, tag number, make and color, damage etc.
In addition to helping with the investigation, Bryan says staying on scene will make sure you don’t wind up with more serious charges. He says a hit-and-run is a criminal investigation, which is a quick escalation for what could be just a minor crash.