It's a frightening statistic. Accidents in Colorado where a person involved left the scene and the victim died has increased almost 80% since 2006.

A study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and released by Colorado AAA found that in 2016, the most recent year where complete statistics are available, 2,049 people in the US were killed in hit-and-run accidents. That's a 60% increase since 2009.

In Colorado, which is ranked 23rd in the states with the most hit-and-run fatalities, deaths have increased nearly 80% since 2006.

Of those killed in hit-and-run accidents nationally, nearly 65% were pedestrians or bicyclists. Of all pedestrian deaths, the driver left the scene almost 20% of the time. The study found drivers are significantly more likely to leave the scene of an accident where a pedestrian or bicyclist is killed than in crashes where the person killed is in an automobile.

To date, Colorado is the only state with a Medina Alert. Similar to the better known Amber Alert, this alert is sent in the event of a hit-and-run in an effort to notify the public and enlist their help locating the driver and vehicle that left the scene of an accident.

Colorado AAA spokesman Skyler McKinley says,

For many Coloradans, walking or bicycling is both great recreation and a sensible alternative to driving. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to stay alert, be aware of our surroundings and always stay on the scene if involved in a crash.

To lessen the chance of being involved in an accident with a pedestrian or bicyclist, AAA recommends the following:

  • Be Aware - Pedestrians can be unpredictable and can walk into the path of a vehicle at any point or time.
  • Be Cautious - Look for pedestrians, particularly children, in areas where they are most likely to be walking on the side of the road or crossing a street. Schools, playgrounds, bus stops, and intersections are places where pedestrians of any age are most likely to be.
  • Be Patient - Make sure it is safe to pass a pedestrian or bicyclist by waiting until you can give them plenty of space before passing. Always try to keep them in your line of sight until you are sure there is no possibility of a collision.
  • Be Vigilant - Know that pedestrians and bicyclists don't always cross at intersections and crosswalks. Yielding the right of way, regardless of who's right, will eliminate the possibility you will hit them.