Florida Facing Increased Risks for Accidents, Despite National Decrease

Officials are really trying to focus on the good news in reporting a 2 percent overall decrease in the number of fatal traffic crashes in 2011. However, the reality is that accident risks increased for some of our most vulnerable travelers, including bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the total number of traffic accident fatalities is down. But what the government watchdog fails to mention in the headlines is that the number of fatalities among bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists is actually up. And that’s kind of a big deal here in Florida.

According to statistics released this month, the total number of traffic accident fatalities wast 32,965 in 2011. That’s down less than 2 percent from the 2010 numbers. Officials focus on this being the lowest number since these stats started back in 1949. Still, there are far too many vulnerable travelers being killed in traffic accidents.

Our Fort Myers accident lawyers understand that the news is anything but positive for travelers in Florida. In the Sunshine State, many residents and visitors rely on bicycles and motorcycles to get around. With the year-around weather conditions, these forms of transportation are not only possible, but they’re more reasonable and cost-effective than driving a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, our roadways just weren’t designed for this kind of traffic. Much of Florida’s infrastructure is designed for fast-moving vehicular traffic, with few safety features. And driver inattention and carelessness isn’t helping any either.

“Even as we celebrate the progress we’ve made in recent years, we must remain focused on addressing the safety issues that are continuing to claim more than 30,000 lives each year,” said the Administrator of the NHTSA, David Strickland.

The state of Florida saw close to 2,400 people die in traffic accidents in 2011. We actually ranked in third place for the state with the most traffic fatalities. We ranked behind California and Texas — both with a larger population.

Key Findings from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):

-The number of people who were killed in light trucks and in passenger cars dropped about 4.5 percent.

-The number of people killed in accidents involving a drunk driver dropped about 2.5 percent. Still, there were close to 10,000 people killed in these careless accidents.

-The number of people killed in accidents involving a distracted driver actually increased close to 2 percent. There were more than 3,330 people killed in these kinds of accidents in 2011.

-The number of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents rose from 2010 to 2011, by 2.1 percent, 8.7 percent and 3.0 percent.

In addition to these fatalities, there were another 385,000 people injured in car accidents in the U.S. in 2011.

What’s most alarming is that many of these collisions, injuries and fatalities could have been prevented. As we head into the New Year, we’re asking drivers to renew their dedication to safe driving habits.