Florida consistently ranks among the top states in the nation for dangerous roadways and fatal car accidents. In fact, in 2017, Florida recorded the most fatal accidents in over a decade, as well as a significant spike in fatal accidents in Orange County. That trend, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, has extended into 2018, with the Orlando area beginning the first 11 days of the year with 11 fatal crashes. Whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorist who travels local roads and highways, you should know you likely face greater risks of being harmed in an accident than most people across the country face simply because you’re in Florida.
Because knowing the risks you face is important to protecting yourself and those you love, drilling down into the numbers is a useful exercise. Take the following into account:
- Florida drivers are among worst in the nation – As we discussed in a recent blog post, Florida drivers are consistently ranked among the worst drivers in the country. According to the latest edition of States with the Worst Drivers, Florida was ranked as the 8th worst state when it comes to motorist safety in 2018 after claiming the top spot during the previous two years. Experts state these ratings have a lot to do with a greater likelihood that Florida drivers may be committing more traffic infractions and causing serious wrecks, and because the state has the lowest rates of insured drivers in the country.
- Florida ranks high for fatal hit-and-run accidents – Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that Florida ranks among the nation’s top states with the most fatal hit-and-run accidents. In 2016, there were an overwhelming 206 hit-and-run accidents resulting in at least one fatality, not to mention numerous others which resulted in injuries.
- Pedestrian deaths on the rise– Pedestrian safety has always been an issue in Florida, but recent statistics have shown that fatal pedestrian accidents have been steadily on the rise throughout the state. The problem is particularly a concern in Central Florida, where local counties that typically saw an average of 45 to 55 pedestrian deaths per year between 2007 to 2013 saw that number steadily increase to 60 in 2014 and 2015, 75 in 2016, and 87 in 2017. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Florida was the second-deadliest state for pedestrians with 3.22 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016. That number is expected to rise.
- Bicycle accidents and fatalities – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a report from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, bicyclists in Florida are more likely to be killed than cyclists in any other state. The report notes that Florida’s per-capita bicyclist fatality rate of 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people between 2007 and 2016 was nearly 60% higher than the 3.9 deaths recorded in Louisiana, the second-leading state for fatal bicycling accidents.
- Texting while driving – Safety advocates and lawmakers have called attention to the distracted driving epidemic and Florida’s need for stronger texting while driving laws. Although it is against the law to text while driving in the Sunshine State, Florida is just one of four states in the entire country to enforce texting laws as a secondary offense. Because texting laws are not primary offenses, law enforcement officers can’t pull motorists over simply for texting alone. They have to find another reason, such as a moving violation or broken taillight, in order to stop and cite drivers.
- Drunk driving – Drunk driving remains a problem throughout the state and the country, despite numerous laws against driving under the influence (DUI) and years of advocacy and awareness efforts. In 2016, Florida saw over 5,200 crashes involving alcohol, which were responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths, according to NHTSA. Todd Miner understands this all too well. Todd is a former Assistant State Attorney and prosecuted hundreds of DUI cases.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits & The Rights of Families
Fatal accidents are tragic and tremendously difficult experiences for families, and unfortunately, are often preventable. While there is nothing that can truly make amends for the loss of a loved one, it is important to remember that families have rights following preventable fatal crashes caused by the negligent and wrongful acts of others. This includes the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
At Todd Miner Law, our nationally recognized legal team is led by Attorney Todd Miner, a former Assistant State Attorney and former insurance defense attorney who has extensive prosecutorial experience with DUI, reckless driving, and other traffic related cases, and whose insight into the “other side” has proven invaluable for our clients. Over the years, our firm has leveraged Attorney Miner’s background to protect the rights of victims and families in even the most difficult cases, including those involving wrongful death and help secure the justice and compensation they deserved.
We know families who turn to us during difficult times deserve to be treated with compassion, and that their cases demand a diligent, thoughtful, and aggressive approach. If you have questions about a fatal traffic accident – including a car accident, pedestrian or bicycle accident, or any other traffic incident – Todd Miner Law is here to help. Contact our firm for a free review of your case.