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Hit-and-run cases cost owners £169m

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A new study has found that innocent car owners are forced to pick up a £169 million bill every year for damages caused by hit-and-run drivers.

Research conducted by Accident Exchange found that as many as 18.5% of motorists who hit a parked car flee the scene if its owner is not there.

According to the review of 50,000 claims, some 56% of drivers who damaged vehicles contacted the owner directly, while 20% left a note with contact details.

Accident Exchange's Lee Woodley said: "Parked car prangs cost the insurance industry more than £1.2 billion annually in repairs.

"It's therefore appalling to think that £169 million of that figure has to be picked up by the innocent motorists own insurance policy. The hope is that this is not an indication of a fleeing culture from Britain's motorists."

Every year, around 700,000 incidents involving vehicles hitting parked cars take place in the country, with 80% happening on the street and 20% in car parks.

© Press Association 2010