Fatal hit-and-runs are becoming more frequent — and so are the number of deaths that arise from them. ValuePenguin researchers found that the number of fatal hit-and-runs rose from 1,342 in 2010 to 1,939 in 2019 — the latest available data — after reaching a high point of 2,012 in 2016. During the same period, deaths increased 44% from 1,393 to 2,005.
California experienced the largest share of fatal hit-and-runs in this period. The number of Golden State crashes accounted for 17% of the U.S. total, with 2,948 crashes causing 3,056 deaths. Texas and Florida also logged more than 1,000 fatal hit-and-runs (1,965 and 1,739, respectively), with each state's fatality count rising over the 10 years.
Researchers also discovered that the number of deaths from hit-and-runs was highest among 25- to 34-year-old drivers. Twenty-two percent of the drivers killed in hit-and-runs belonged to this demographic, followed by 45- to 54-year-olds (18%) and 35- to 44-year-olds (16%). From 2010 to 2019, nine drivers 15 and younger were killed in hit-and-runs.
- Fatal hit-and-runs increased by 44% from 1,342 in 2010 to 1,939 in 2019 — the latest available data. During the same period, the number of hit-and-run fatalities also increased by 44%.
- The worst state for fatal hit-and-runs is California. From 2010 to 2019, 2,948 fatal hit-and-runs resulted in 3,056 deaths. The number of crashes also exceeded 1,000 in Texas and Florida.
- Fatal hit-and-runs were most frequent compared to miles traveled on District of Columbia roads. Hit-and-runs caused 10.8 deaths per 10 billion miles traveled in the nation's capital. By comparison, the rate of deaths per 10 billion miles across the U.S. was 5.7 during the same period.
- Hit-and-run crashes were the most dangerous in Wisconsin. For every 100 crashes, 110 people were killed — meaning some hit-and-runs killed more than one person. The death rate across the 50 states and D.C. was 104 people per 100 crashes.
- 25- to 34-year-olds were most likely to be killed in fatal hit-and-runs from 2010 to 2019 . During this period, 687 drivers in this age group were killed in hit-and-runs.
In the last decade, the number of fatal hit-and-runs increased by 44%
Fatal hit-and-runs increased during the period examined from 1,342 to 1,939. Hit-and-runs rose every year from 2010 to 2016 before falling by 3% in 2017. In total, there were 16,936 fatal hit-and-runs over the decade. On average, this amounts to 33 crashes per state per year — though the number of hit-and-runs varies depending on the state.
Americans traveled nearly 31 trillion miles collectively from 2010 to 2019. For every 10 billion miles traveled, there were 5.5 fatal hit-and-runs across the U.S.
In the same period, these hit-and-run crashes resulted in 17,531 deaths. Though there were more deaths than crashes from 2010 to 2019, fatalities also grew by 44% from 1,393 to 2,005. For fatalities, the most deadly year was 2016, when 2,082 people were killed. However, deaths didn’t grow every year. In 2013, the number of fatalities dropped by 2% year over year. In 2017 and 2019, the number of deaths dropped by 3%.
While there were 5.5 fatal hit-and-runs for every 10 billion miles Americans traveled during this period, there were slightly more deaths. For every 10 billion miles, there were 5.7 fatalities. In other words, 104 people died for every 100 crashes.
17% of fatal hit-and-run crashes across the U.S. occurred in California, the largest share of any state
There were 2,948 fatal hit-and-runs in California from 2010 to 2019, resulting in 3,056 deaths. Both numbers are higher than in any other state. Additionally, there were 8.8 fatal hit-and-runs for every 10 billion miles traveled in California during this period — higher than in all other states but the District of Columbia and Arizona.
California, Texas and Florida were the only states where more than 1,000 fatal hit-and-runs took place.
Relative to miles traveled, crashes occurred most frequently in the nation's capital. In the District of Columbia, there was a fatal hit-and-run nearly twice as often as across the U.S. — 10.8 per 10 billion miles traveled, versus 5.5. Because of its small size — less than 70 square miles — the District of Columbia recorded the fewest miles traveled of any state in the country, even though it had a higher rate of fatal crashes proportionally than any other.
Neither California nor the District of Columbia had the highest number of deaths per fatal hit-and-run. That distinction went to Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, there were 110 people killed per 100 fatal hit-and-runs. Across the U.S., the rate was 104 killed per 100 crashes.
Fatal hit-and-runs per 10 billion miles
Deaths per 100 crashes
Percentage of fatal hit-and-run crashes
States ordered by number of fatal hit-and-run crashes.
25- to 34-year-olds were the most likely to die after a hit-and-run, making up 22% of all deaths among drivers
There were 3,136 drivers killed as a result of hit-and-runs in this period. Compared to the total number of fatalities, this data reveals that passengers were far more likely than drivers to be killed by a hit-and-run. In fact, drivers made up 18% of the total fatalities (17,531) from 2010 to 2019.
Among drivers killed in hit-and-runs, 25- to 34-year-olds made up the largest portion, accounting for 22% of all deaths. Behind this group, 45- to 54-year-olds contributed largely to the total fatalities (18%). Sixteen percent of the fatalities that killed drivers involved those ages 35 to 44. And 11% of the deaths came from those ages 21 to 24. There were nine deaths, during this period, of drivers who were 15 or younger.
Hit-and-run driver deaths
Percentage of deaths among drivers
|5-15||9||Less than 1%|
|Older than 74||146||5%|
|Unknown||6||Less than 1%|
Car insurance covers hit-and-run crashes only some of the time. A standard car insurance policy doesn't offer protection against hit-and-run crashes. When the offending driver flees the scene and doesn't give their insurance information, the victim must rely on their collision or uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) insurance coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MedPay).
All these forms of protection are common, but, unlike liability insurance, they aren't typically required by state lawmakers. PIP and UMBI coverage are only required by a minority of states, while none compel drivers to purchase collision coverage. At the same time, the cost of auto insurance increases after drivers add these forms of coverage to a standard policy, meaning drivers who can't afford the add-ons will risk paying out of pocket for a hit-and-run.
ValuePenguin analyzed the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes and the deaths that resulted from them using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Researchers gathered information from the years 2010 to 2019 — the latest available data. The team collected data on miles traveled by state from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.