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Last updated on Friday, August 3, 2012
(COLUMBUS) - More drivers are leaving traffic accidents without exchanging insurance information with the other driver or waiting for police to arrive, The Republic reports.
In the first six months of 2012, Columbus police responded to 170 accidents where one driver had left the scene.
If this trend continues, police will have received at least 12 more leaving-the-scene reports this year than in 2011 and at least 28 more than in 2010, according to police records.
Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix said he thinks more people are leaving the scene of an accident because they are either not insured or don't have a driver's license.
Motorists who are left by other drivers face paying for repairs to their vehicle by themselves.
It is not required by state law for insurance companies to respond to claims of property damage from hit and run accidents in which the other vehicle's owner or driver cannot be identified, said Logan Harrison, chief deputy commissioner for health, public and legislative affairs for the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Harrison said vehicle owners can purchase collision coverage as part of their auto insurance, which protects motorists involved in hit-and-run accidents.
The coverage pays for repairs or vehicle replacement. But it usually requires an additional cost. This might turn some vehicle owners away, Harrison said.
In order to keep their monthly premiums low, some motorists decide not to add coverage.
"It's your own economical cost-benefit analysis," Harrison said.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Police do catch some of the motorists suspected in hit-and-runs.
So far in 2012, the police department has arrested 21 hit-and-run suspects. There were 47 arrested in 2011 and 31 in 2010.
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