The annual report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety identifies Florida as one of the worst states in the country for driving safety.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, public health and safety groups that publishes a yearly report on the highway safety laws in each state. It assigns states a rating of green (most comprehensive highway safety laws), yellow (moderately comprehensive safety laws), or red (least comprehensive laws) based on how many life-saving traffic laws it has on the books. Florida was one of five states that received a red light rating.
According to the report Florida recorded 2,494 roadway fatalities in 2014 and loses $10.75 billion to auto accidents each year. These numbers are high even among states with the worst highway safety laws, and Florida’s fatality count comes close to matching states such as California and Texas that have much larger populations but superior safety laws.
The advocacy group recommends that Florida pass specific laws to reduce fatalities, including booster seats for children seven and under, restricting text messaging for all drivers, a mandatory motorcyclist helmet law, and a seat-belt law for rear passengers. A series of regulations is also recommended for new and younger drivers.
“Across the nation, legislatures are missing in action while more people are being killed in motor vehicle crashes,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates. “Last year, only six states improved their highway safety laws, while early predictions show deaths on the rise for the first half of the year.”
Preliminary data shows that 2015 was the deadliest driving year in the U.S. since 2007, with an estimated 38,300 people killed and 4.4 million injured.
The Advocates report was released around the same time as an unrelated report on hit and runs in Florida. Florida highway patrol officials announced 92,000 hit and runs in 2015 across the state. That number is up 7,500 from 2014. Hit and runs resulted in 186 deaths statewide.
Taken together, the two reports illustrate the woeful state of Florida’s highway safety. New laws are an important step towards making roadways safer in years to come, but there will always be drivers who break the law and operate recklessly, and those injured in a traffic accident need to take steps to protect their interests.
The car accident lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have been helping Florida’s motorists recover compensation for car accident injuries for decades. As local drivers, we know how dangerous our state’s roads can be. As lawyers, we understand the difficulties that can arise after a car accident and are committed to getting our clients a fair and full insurance recovery.
If you’ve been in a car accident, we can help. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review and learn more about your legal rights and options.