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A woman was struck by a vehicle and pronounced dead on Monday evening, the victim of a hit-and-run crash in West Houston.

Details of the Accident

Around 8:45 p.m., a woman was walking down the 7700 block of Westheimer Road when a car, of which model is currently unknown, struck her and left her unconscious in the middle of the street.

The woman was taken to the local hospital by paramedics, but sadly, she passed away.

The individual(s) responsible for the accident fled the scene.

Hit-and-Run Statistics

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • More than one hit-and-run collision occurs every minute in the United States.
  • There were 2,049 fatalities that occurred as a result of hit-and-run accidents in 2016. This is the highest number ever recorded, placing it at 5.5 percent of all traffic fatalities that year.
  • Drivers that are responsible for the hit-and-run accidents are usually young males that have a history of DWI and license suspensions.
  • Only about half of drivers responsible for hit-and-run accidents are ever identified.

The Consequences

Texas law requires that all drivers involved in an accident must stay at the scene, regardless if there is or isn’t signs of injury, property damage, or fatalities.

In Texas, a hit-and-run collision is known as a “Failure to Give Information or Render Aid.” Therefore, it is a crime to commit a hit-and-run. Depending on the severity of the crash, a hit-and-run can cause authorities to issue out a misdemeanor or a felony.

However, in 2013, penalties for a hit-and-run were increased to make it equivalent to a charge of intoxicated manslaughter. Even with a misdemeanor conviction, significant fines along with the loss of driving privileges is commonplace. With a felony conviction, however, guilty parties can face up to 20 years in prison.

How to Stay Safe

There are several things you need to be aware of when walking down the sidewalk or driving down the street to avoid an accident that could potentially turn into a hit-and-run collision. According to the AAA Exchange:

Pedestrians:

  • Be Visible – Wear reflective clothing.
  • Stay Alert – Keep your eyes and ears focused on the road at all times.
  • Avoid Distractions – Put your phone in your pocket and take off your headphones.
  • Follow All Traffic Rules – Recognize all the signals, signs, and traffic rules. Be aware of the rules drivers must recognize as well and don’t assume that they will give you the right of way. This helps you anticipate their next move, keeping you safe.
  • Walk in Safe Places – Avoid walking on the shoulder of the highway or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited. Instead, opt to travel on foot in safe areas like the crosswalk or the sidewalk.
  • Avoid Alcohol Consumption – Alcohol impairs judgment, not only for drivers but for pedestrians, too. Alcohol also dulls your senses and reflexes, making travel unsafe whether you are behind the wheel or on foot.

Drivers:

  • Stay Alert – Keep an eye out for pedestrians at all times
  • Adhere to Speed Limit – Places like school zones or neighborhoods have lower speed limits for a reason. Keep pedestrians safe by driving the speed limit.
  • Use Your Lights – If the weather is bad, your visibility is bad. Ensure that your lights are on and signal properly.
  • Watch Out Behind You – When reversing out of a parking lot or garage, always make sure there is no one behind you.
  • Mind Crosswalks – Always yield to pedestrians, reduce your speed when approaching a crosswalk, keep your distance so other drivers know people are crossing, and don’t try to pass anyone stopped at a crosswalk.
  • Don’t Drive Under the Influence – Just don’t do it.

Have you been injured or lost a loved one in a hit-and-run car accident? Reach out to the Houston car accident and wrongful death attorney at Lapeze & Johns.

Hit-and-run accidents can leave a lot of unanswered questions, but with the expert car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns at your side, there’s always hope.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (713) 739-1010 for your free legal consultation.

[Information and image pulled from houstonchronicle.com]