LESS than one in five of all hit-and-runs in Lincolnshire have resulted in a motorist being charged with a criminal offence.
Figures from Lincolnshire Police show 40 incidents where a vehicle hit a person and did not stop, from October 2010 until July 2013.
But even though it is an offence to leave the scene of an accident, the same figures reveal just seven motorists faced charges between October 2010 and September this year.
It means no more than three people were charged each year, with just one person being charged over the last year.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesperson said the figures are the result of many difficulties facing police when tracing suspected hit-and-run drivers.
Police are encouraging people who think they see a hit-and-run to take down as many details as possible and report them using the 101 telephone number.
"On many occasions we do not have a vehicle registration for the offending vehicle," the spokesman said.
"This might be because the suspect has hit a parked unoccupied car and the damage is only discovered when the owner returns.
"Or it might be that there are no other witnesses to the collision and the other car owner has not managed to get any details of the offending vehicle.
"Even if we do have a suggested registration, it can be difficult to prove guilt."
However John Siddle, from the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, believes while some hit-and-runs are genuine mistakes other drivers can have ulterior motives for not stopping.
"You do genuinely have some drivers that have struck something on road that sometimes they are totally unaware of," he said.
"Other times they know they have hit something, but think it has been a dog or a deer.
"We have had incidents recently where drivers have driven on.
"Clearly if they are hit by a car, and hit the bonnet and windscreen, and someone makes off that is a clear hit-and-run.
"When that person is found, the full weight of the court will go against them.
"There are those that will make off because perhaps they should not be doing what they are doing.
"Perhaps they are uninsured or don't have a license, are under the influence of drugs or perhaps their
journey is one to commit crime and they don't want to be spoken to by anybody.
"There is a whole range of reasons where people want to make off.
"However we have known people to be clipped by wing mirrors and the driver not know, so there are varying degrees."
But he says it is possible to trace more cars thanks to modern techniques.
"Car manufacturers and paint manufacturers are very specific in what they do with their paint so definitely the traceability is there," Mr Siddle added.