The statistic really speaks for itself. Nearly half of Los Angeles car accidents, that 20,000 each year, are hit-and-runs.
That is a percentage completely off the charts. In the United States as a whole about 11% of crashes are hit and runs. The Los Angeles numbers are not even within the realm of reasonable. Los Angeles drivers are 4 1/2 times more likely to bail after an accident than drivers in the country on the whole. There are any number of reasons that the percentage in Los Angeles is so much higher, but two stick out. One, Los Angeles is a huge metropolis of nearly 3.8 million people. That is a lot of people. Two, Los Angeles has a car-centric culture. Southern Californians are quick to complain about public transportation and the highways are a landmark in and of themselves. The size of the city and surrounding suburbs and the sheer number of cars on the road probably contribute to the shocking 48% hit and runs.
Whatever the causal factors, 48% is much too high of a number. Los Angeles city, county and the police department need to focus more of their energies on an epidemic that is sweeping the city. These 20,000 hit and runs leave families torn apart and people disabled for the rest of their lives. Whether it is by dedicating more officers to investigating these hit and runs, or better yet devoting resources to determining what is fueling this culture and how to prevent hit and runs before they happen, Los Angeles cannot continue to ignore this alarming trend.