AAA: Fatal hit-and-run crashes on the rise in the U.S.

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VALLEY STREAM -

Fatal hit-and-run crashes are on the rise across the United States, according to a recently released AAA study.

The study found that 2,049 people were killed in hit-and-run incidents in 2016 -- the highest number on record. It's also a 60 percent increase since 2009.

Out of all the hit-and-run crashes, nearly 65 percent of people killed were either walking or on bicycles.

The study includes both accidents that injure people or damage property.

AAA says drivers should be careful on the road and also remain at the scene if a crash occurs.

Fatal hit-and-run incidents have long been a problem on Long Island.

As News 12 has reported, victims' families have been pushing for increased penalties for drivers who flee the scene for years.

"Somewhere, we've got to put a stop on people leaving the scene of an accident," says Michael Mangino, who lost his daughter Tracy to a hit-and-run driver in 2014. "If you're driving drunk and kill somebody you've got to pay the consequences.

Mangino says the driver who killed his daughter eventually plead guilty to leaving the scene -- and had prior arrests for DWI and leaving the scene.

Under current law, the penalty is 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident that injures someone or causes significant property damage.

The Senate has repeatedly passed a bill to steeply increase the penalties for serious hit-and-run accidents, but the legislation has stalled in the state Assembly.

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