According to VISIT FLORIDA Research, approximately 101.119 million tourists visited Florida in 2019. In fact, Business Insider reports that Florida is the second-most visited state in the nation, just after California, according to a study of more than 87,000 hotel bookings by HotelsCombined.
With so many tourists visiting Florida from out of state and overseas, it is perhaps not surprising that these visitors play a fairly significant role in the state’s relatively high motor vehicle accident rate.
In 2018, U.S. News & World Report named Florida as the third-leading state for fatal motor vehicle accidents. And, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)’s Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report for 2018 (the latest year for which data is available), there were 403,626 motor vehicle crashes in the state of Florida in 2018. Of those accidents, 236,157 resulted in injuries and 3,135 were fatal. The total crash statistic translates to a shocking 1,106 average crashes per day.
How Do Tourists Contribute to Motor Vehicle Accidents?
To be clear, there is currently no substantiated data regarding the number of tourists involved in car and other motor vehicle accidents in Florida each year. However, many Floridians have found themselves the victims of automobile accidents caused by out-of-state or international motorists.
There are many possible ways in which a tourist may cause an automobile accident. Some of these include:
- Driver Distraction: A tourist may be more likely to be distracted while driving, particularly if they are sightseeing or navigating using a hand-held device, like a cell phone or GPS. In any case, all forms of driver distraction, regardless of who the driver is, are dangerous and can lead to serious collisions.
- Unfamiliarity with the Area: Because tourists are often unfamiliar with the roads, streets, and highways on which they are traveling, they may engage in risky driving behavior, such as looking down at a cell phone to navigate, driving at too high or too low speeds, and making sudden last-minute turns or maneuvers.
- Driving under the Influence: Many people travel to Miami, the Florida Keys, and other areas of the state to take part in Florida’s bustling nightlife scene. Unfortunately, many of these people also make the choice to get behind the wheel while drunk or under the influence of drugs/alcohol.
- Drowsy Driving: Visitors from faraway states and countries travel for long periods of time in order to get to Florida. These tourists may drive drowsy as a result of long travel hours, jetlag, or other factors. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol and may lead to serious accidents.
- Inexperience: Both out-of-state and international visitors may be unaware of Florida-specific and U.S. traffic laws, causing them to inadvertently violate the rules of the road. Other motorists who are not expecting another vehicle to do something it isn’t supposed to could become involved in an accident.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Tourist Car Accident in Florida
Whether you call Florida home or are visiting from another state or country, it is important that you are aware of all federal and state traffic laws and that you always obey the rules of the road. However, if you are involved in an accident with a tourist or if you are a tourist yourself who has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, there are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself.
First, always stop your vehicle after an accident. Pull over to a safe place, if possible, and check to ensure that you, your passengers, and the other driver/passengers are okay. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911. Also, make sure to contact local law enforcement and report the accident.
You will also want to get the other driver’s information; this may include his/her name, phone number, address, hotel address, insurance information, rental car information, and more. If there were any witnesses, make sure to take down their information and a brief statement as well.
Lastly, contact an experienced auto accident attorney if you are having trouble filing a claim or if you need assistance with medical bills, vehicle damage, and other losses. At Todd Miner Law, we assist both Floridians and tourists who have been injured in car accidents in Orlando and the nearby areas.
Contact us today at (407) 269-5877 to schedule a free consultation. When you work with us, there are no fees unless/until we recover compensation on your behalf.