From UPI, Oct. 17:

Hit-and-run deaths at 10-year high

WASHINGTON, DC — Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington show that hit-and-run pedestrian deaths have risen 20 percent since 2000.

A total of 974 pedestrians were killed in hit-and-run cases in 2005, marking the highest level since 1996, when 982 people were killed, USA Today reported Tuesday. Overall pedestrian deaths totaled 4,881 in 2005, a 2-percent increase from 2000 but less than the more than 5,400 deaths in 1996.

Hit-and-runs increased at a rate of 20 percent, while overall pedestrian deaths rose 2 percent since 2000.

Peter Kissinger, chief executive officer of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, told USA Today the current glut of hit-and-run deaths may be due to an increase in pedestrians and increases in distractions and aggression in drivers.

Richard Ashton of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told the newspaper hit-and-run cases can be difficult to solve because they often happen at night when no one is around to witness.

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