Across the country, traffic accident fatalities have been on the rise for several years. Florida is not immune to this trend. There are many causes of car accidents, and many ways in which drivers can protect themselves from being involved in a collision.
The majority of Florida car accidents are the result of driver negligence - meaning they aren't "accidents" in the true sense because they're preventable. That said, there are also many simple safety measures which can reduce the severity of injuries sustained in a crash. These include wearing a seat belt, following the speed limit and buying the safest class of car within your budget.
The Fatality Statistics for Florida and the Nation
After the economic crash of 2008, fewer vehicles were on the road, and traffic fatalities experienced a corresponding drop. According to The Washington Post, traffic fatalities across the United States hit an all-time low in 2011. Unfortunately, as Americans have returned to the road, traffic fatalities have been steadily climbing ever since. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its traffic fatality data for 2016, and reported that 2016 fatalities had - again - increased from the previous year. A 5.4 percent increase in the number of fatality victims placed the total at 37,461. The Post reports an estimated 18,680 victims died in traffic accidents during the first half of 2017. This makes it highly likely that the 2017 totals will meet or exceed those from the previous year.
Florida has experienced a similar trend in auto accident fatalities. According to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System, the number of accident fatalities in Florida has increased from 2,408 in 2011 to 3,176 in 2016. Thousands more victims were injured and suffered property damage as a result of traffic accidents. So why are traffic accidents on the rise, and what can Florida drivers do to prevent them?
Speeding: A Major Cause of Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies speeding as one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. It named speeding as a factor in thirty-one percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the United States in 2007. It also estimated that crashes related to speeding cost 40.4 billion dollars in the year 2000 alone. Just because a driver is not exceeding the posted speed limit does not mean that he or she is driving safely. Florida law requires drivers not to go faster than is reasonable or prudent for current conditions. Nighttime driving, inclement weather, stop and go traffic, and many other conditions can make it unsafe to travel at the posted speed limit. A driver who does not slow down for these conditions can be found negligent in a civil lawsuit, and can also be found guilty of a traffic violation under Florida Statutes, Title Thirteen § 316.183(1).
Speeding is dangerous for many reasons. It reduces a driver’s ability to navigate curves and steer around obstacles in the road. It increases the stopping distance a vehicle needs, as well as the distance the vehicle travels while its driver reacts to hazardous circumstances. Be sure to contact an experienced West Palm Beach car accident attorney as soon as possible after any traffic accident. You have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries and losses.