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45 Hofstra L. Rev. 331 (2016-2017)
Is a Hit-and-Wait Really Any Better than a Hit-and-Run

handle is hein.journals/hoflr45 and id is 341 raw text is: 


                  THAN A HIT-AND-RUN?

                           I.  INTRODUCTION
     Imagine  a driver making  his way home  after a long day's work with
his mind  on  a myriad  things. Perhaps he  is thinking about the football
score, the lottery drawing,  the weekend,   or any number   of things. He
comes  over a hill when suddenly  from  out of nowhere  a pedestrian steps
out into the street. He slams on the brakes  but, in his mind, knows  it is
too late. There is a terrible moment immediately before the impact  where
the driver  is hoping  that there may   just be  enough  time  to stop  or
perhaps  swerve   out  of the  way;  then, the  awful  impact.  From   the
moment   of any  accident the  driver must immediately   decide, should  I
stay or should I go?
     To  most  of us the proper  choice seems  obvious,  both legally and
morally-stay.   The driver involved  in an accident must stay at the scene
until the proper authorities arrive.' Yet, every year in the United States,
nearly  1500 drivers make  the  dreadful choice to flee the scene of fatal
accidents.2 What  makes  these drivers flee is not abundantly clear. Some
psychologists  explain that the drivers flee due to sheer panic, shame, or
the overwhelming   fear of criminal repercussions.3 This reasoning is even
cited in a North Carolina case.4 Law  enforcement  sources explain that in

     1. See William L. O'Malley, Legislation, 6 NOTRE DAME L. REv. 372, 376 (1931)
(explaining how the law that requires a driver in an accident to remain and assist the injured victim
amounts to nothing more than raising to a legal status a duty which at common law was considered
only moral).
    2. See Press Release, AAA Found. for Traffic Safety, Hit and Run Drivers Kill Nearly 1500
People Annually with Pedestrians at Greatest Risk (May 2015), https://www.aaafoundation.org/
    3. See Meredith Cohn, Experts Work to Understand Psychology of Hit-and-Run: Fear,
Shame, Intoxication Can Overwhelm Self-Control, BALT. SUN, Feb. 7, 2015, at IA (explaining how
the fight or flight instinct may kick in while the driver is under immense stress and cause the
driver to make irrational decisions); see also Michael E. Young, Psychologists Cite Panic as Reason
Hit-Run Drivers Flee, BALT. SUN, July 13, 1992, at 1A.
    4. See Powell v. Doe, 473 S.E.2d 407, 411 (N.C. Ct. App. 1996) (Human nature being as it
is, it is conceivable that the hit and run driver left the scene out of panic.).


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