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Hit-run drivers slapped with soft sentences

Hit-run drivers are rarely receiving the maximum penalty of 10 years jail for their crime, despite crashes critically injuring or killing some victims.

In many cases, the drivers are slapped with jail sentences under a year even after going to extreme lengths in a bid to cover up what they did. 

3AW Mornings examined four fatal hit-runs that took place between 2012 and 2013. 

In each case, the driver fled the scene and the jail sentence for failing to stop or failing to render assistance was only a few months. 

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin said there are four reasons why hit-run drivers flee. 

‘Often they’ve been involved in a crime prior to the fatal crash,’ he said. ‘[Or] they’re either drunk, on drugs or disqualified from driving.’ 

‘They’re the only four reasons why a person who has critically injured someone would contemplate leaving the scene.’ 

Inspector Rankin said often police arrive to a hit-run scene and find very little debris, a body and no witnesses. 

‘There’s a lot of legwork involved,’ he said.

There are currently 49 unsolved hit-runs in Victoria dating back to the 1970s, but Inspector Rankin said Victoria police have a strong record of catching the hit-run drivers.

LISTEN: Bernie Rankin explains police investigations into hit-run incidents