Unlicensed Drivers Threaten Traffic Safety and the Full Compensation of Accident Victims
Although motorists who do not have a valid driver’s license are involved in one in five collisions, policies designed to keep drivers who are unlicensed or that have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked have not been particularly effective according to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety entitled “Unlicensed to Kill.”
The study revealed those who lack a driver’s license or have some deficiency in their driver’s license status cause approximately 8,400 fatal crashes annually. Despite the high toll in human life exacted by drivers without a valid driver’s license, attempts to keep these drivers off roadways have been relatively ineffective as evidenced by the fact that almost thirty percent of the offenders involved in fatal accident had at least three prior license suspensions or revocations. The researchers also indicated their belief that unlicensed drivers are disproportionately involved in fatal accident based on the percentage of unlicensed drivers on the road.
Lindsay I. Griffin of the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A & M University, who was a member of the research team involved in the study, told ABC News “It’s like a revolving door. These people are being suspended and suspended and suspended again, and still, they’re driving.”
Motorists without a valid license also predictably exhibited other characteristics that threaten the safety of others on the road. Drivers who did not have a valid license were three times as likely to be identified as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol according to the law enforcement officer.
One particularly concerning aspect of this study is that it suggests many victims of those who are driving without a license may struggle to obtain compensation for their injuries. Drivers without a valid license are five times more likely to flee the scene of a fatal car crash. When drivers commit hit-and-run following a crash that results in debilitating permanent injuries or wrongful death, the victim and his or her family may face serious challenges in obtaining fair compensation.
Although our Atlanta hit-and-run accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates frequently investigate collisions to identify other potential defendants, sometimes there is no other viable defendant when the unlicensed hit-and-run driver cannot be located. However, provided you have the coverage, we may still be able to assist you in pursuing a claim under your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for your damages, as your UM policy can step in an pay in certain situations.
These concerning findings have focused attention on making the roads safer and avoiding situations where accident victims are not fully compensated for their injuries when they are the victims of drivers lacking a valid license. Some jurisdictions have addressed this problem by impounding the vehicles of drivers who are caught operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. Critics of this approach contend that municipalities use this policy with the intent of generating revenue rather than the objective of protecting the public.
A recent Los Angeles Times report discussed an interesting alternative approach to dealing with drivers who flee the scene of an accident often because the drivers do not have a valid license. The article reported that a member of the Los Angeles City Council has proposed rewarding those who identify a hit-and-run drivers with a $50,000 reward. This type of policy could provide another tool that could be employed by cities to increase the probability that injury victims are fully compensated for the harm caused by unlicensed hit-and-run drivers.
If you or someone close to you is injured or a loved one dies in an Atlanta hit-and-run accident, call 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) to discuss your case with a Georgia car accident lawyer at Montlick and Associates. We are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.