New Report Shows Florida's Need for Better, More Robust Highway Safety Laws
Posted By Todd Miner Law || Feb 4, 2019
Florida motorists are all too familiar with the risks they face when it comes to car accidents, as well as some of the less-than-stellar statistics that make Florida roads and highways more dangerous than those in other states. In previous blogs, we’ve discussed Florida’s traffic safety problems, increased roadway risks, and local drivers’ bad reputation regarding:
- The lowest rate of insured drivers in the country
- A top-three rating in the nation for fatal hit-and-run accidents
- Rising rates of pedestrian accidents
- The highest risks for fatal bicycle accidents
- The second-highest state for roadway deaths
Distinctions like these are highly concerning for local residents and lawmakers alike, and they’re continuing to pile up and preserve Florida’s reputation among the worst in the country for highway safety. According a recent report from one advocacy group, that has a lot to do with the state’s significant need for better and more robust highway safety laws.
A Lack of Optimal Road & Highway Safety Laws
According to The Advocates’ Report, an annual evaluation report released by the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety (Advocates) organization, Florida has another claim to fame: it’s one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to optimal road and highway safety laws. The report, which was been published by the advocacy group for over a decade, functions as a type of report card which grades all states (and the District of Columbia) according to how well they enact and enforce road safety legislation.
How Florida Stacks Up
As part of the report, Advocates evaluates states in five major categories: vehicle occupant protection, safety of child passengers, teen motorists / driving, drugged and drunk driving, and distracted driving.
They then assign one of three grades: Green, which means states have good road policies in place; Yellow, which means state laws could be more robust; and Red, which indicates states are dangerously behind in adopting critical road safety laws and enforcing the ones they already have.
Florida, naturally, received the Advocates’ Red rating, having just five of the group’s 16 recommended safety laws in place. As noted in the report, Florida lawmakers would have to enact and enforce over 10 additional laws or amendments to earn its Green rating, and better protect Floridians from risks of suffering serious injuries, wrongful death, and other damages victims incur in preventable auto accidents.
Their recommendations include the need for laws which:
- Require all motorcyclists to wear a DOT-approved helmet.
- Allow law enforcement officers to enforce seat belt laws as primary laws.
- Require installation of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for first-time DUI offenders. IIDs are breathalyzers which can prevent drunk drivers from starting their vehicles if they’re intoxicated.
- Expand comprehensive texting while driving bans to cover all drivers.
- Require children under 2 years of age to be rear-facing, and adopt better booster seat laws based on a child’s age and / or weight.
- Make 16 the minimum age for a learner’s permit, and enforce stronger restrictions on driving at night and driving with passengers for those with permits.
- Make 18 the minimum age for an unrestricted driver’s license, meaning 16- and 17-year-old drivers should be subject to more restrictions.
- Pass better legislation for restricting cell phone use among teen motorists, and police to enforce those restrictions as primary laws.
While Florida does have some legislation addressing these common roadway safety issues, Advocates says those laws don’t go far enough. For example, the group strongly urges states to make certain laws “primary laws” so law enforcement officers can ticket motorists for certain violations. Currently, Florida’s texting while driving ban is only a secondary law, meaning officers can only pull texting drivers over and issue them citations if those drivers commit another primary offense or primary-law infraction, such as speeding or running a red light.
Todd Miner Law: Protecting Your Rights. Fighting For Fair Compensation.
Following reports like these, our legal team at Todd Miner Law always stresses the importance of what you can do to help improve safety on our public roads, and better protect yourself and your loved ones. Whether it’s ensuring your fully covered in the event of serious injuries and uninsured and underinsured (UM / UIM) accidents, putting down that cell phone when behind the wheel, or obeying other rules of the road, your efforts can help drive statistics in a different direction. Unfortunately, you can’t be sure others will do the same.
Because negligent and careless drivers will always pose risks on our roads, car accidents and other motor vehicle collisions will continue to happen. Should one happen to you or someone you love, you can find the support and legal representation you need to get through these difficult times and your personal injury case by working with our award-winning attorneys at Todd Miner Law.
Call (407) 269-5877 or contact us online to speak with an Orlando personal injury lawyer. Todd Miner Law serves clients throughout the state, offers free and confidential consultations, and handles injury cases on contingency fees – meaning there’s no fee unless we win.