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Florida Traffic Fatality Rate Increases as National Rates Spike

As the national rate of traffic fatalities fell by more than 20 percent between 1975 and 2015, the rate in Florida spiked by 47 percent. That’s according to recent data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Where there were 1,998 people killed in 1975, there were 3,357 in 2006 and 2,939 in 2015. Although these figures fell by about 12 percent between 2006 and 2015, there was a jump of 18 percent just between 2014 and 2015.

Meanwhile in the U.S., there were 44,525 traffic deaths in 1975, compared to 35,092 in 2015. This latest figure is a slight increase since 2006, but it’s still overall a lower number. That’s great news, but clearly, we here in Florida need to be doing more to curb the number of traffic accidents that cause serious injury and death.

To our Orlando car accident attorneys, this is bigger than the numbers. The fact is, these are not merely statistics. These are real people with spouses and children and parents and loved ones and communities who rely on them. For us, seeking compensation is personal. We work tirelessly to help our clients be made whole by seeking recompense from at-fault drivers, automobile owners, vehicle manufacturers, insurance companies and those responsible for road design and maintenance.

While the numbers themselves are startling, what is especially concerning about the NHTSA report is the rate at which the figures climbed. Although the overall number of traffic deaths are down over the 40-year span, there were 31 states – including Florida – that had a traffic death increase of more than 5 percent. Three other states plus D.C. had an increase of less than 5 percent. From 2006 to 2015, traffic fatalities in the U.S. climbed by 7 percent.

When factoring in vehicle miles traveled, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System calculated traffic deaths per vehicle-mile-traveled dropped 66 percent in the last four decades, from 3.35 to 1.13.

Some of the biggest factors in motor vehicle crashes and severity of injuries have included:

  • Excess speed;
  • Alcohol impairment;
  • Distraction;
  • Use of motorcycle with no helmet.

Speeding in particular was deemed to be a significant risk factor. In another recent report by the NHTSA, of the more than 35,000 people killed in car accidents in 2015, nearly 10,000 – or 27 percent – were involved in collisions where at least one driver was speeding. Speed-related deaths increased by 3 percent between 2014 and 2015. Further, nearly half of all speed-related crashes involved a driver who was impaired, compared to 20 percent of those who were involved in fatal crashes where no one was speeding.

State-level data on speeding shows 11 percent of Florida’s fatal crashes are speed-related.

Most of the people killed in 2015 traffic crashes were drivers (50 percent) and passengers (18 percent), while pedestrians (18 percent) and motorcyclists (14 percent) weren’t far behind, trailed by bicyclists (2 percent). Mostly, this has to do with the commonality of motor vehicles, comparative to individuals on foot and traveling by motorcycle and bicycle. Bear in mind, though that those in these “other” categories are proven to suffer a disproportionate risk.

Proving negligence in Florida requires a plaintiff showing:

  • Defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care;
  • Duty of care was breached;
  • Breach of duty caused plaintiff’s damages.

In car accident cases, proving a duty of care is generally fairly simple because all motorists owe a duty to others to drive with reasonable care. In many cases, we need to show a duty was breached – either because of a violation of law or general failure to use reasonable care – and that plaintiff suffered damages to the extent claimed. Our experienced Orlando injury lawyers can help.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Traffic Safety Facts – State Traffic Data – June 2017, NHTSA

More Blog Entries:

Florida Car Accident Risk High as State Ranks High for Poor Drivers, July 31, 2017, Car Accident Attorney Blog

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