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Police surveys drivers' excuses in hit and run cases

Date Posted: 2003-05-03

Okinawan drivers continue to get a bad rap for their propensity for driving while drunk, and now also for hit and run accidents. A study covering all hit and run cases within the prefecture during 2002 shows that 44 percent of drivers who had driven away without stopping after an accident said that they did so because they were drunk at the time.

Another 22 percent said that they simply were too scared to stop, and 14.3 percent said they did not stop because they did not have a driving license. Another eight percent claimed they thought no one had seen the accident, and that they could get away with it.

Four percent of those surveyed were optimistic enough that they through they could negotiate a settlement with victims later, without police getting involved.

Okinawa has for years been notorious for the largest percentage of drunk drivers on the roads in the country. According to prefectural police, nothing seems to scare drunks away from behind the wheel. Despite repeated campaigns and ever harsher punishments, nothing seems to work.

"And now we see this increase in hit and run cases too," an exhausted prefectural traffic police officer said. Police statistics show that while there were 97 hit and run cases in 2001, the number jumped to 156 in 2002.

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