South Florida car accidents hit record low

Palm Beach car accidents and fatal traffic accidents throughout Florida fell to a record low in 2009, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Department of Transportation announced Monday that the fatality rate dropped to the lowest level ever recorded in Florida.

A total of 2,563 traffic fatalities occurred in Florida last year, nearly 1,000 fewer than the 3,533 that occurred five years ago. The announcement marks the fourth consecutive year-over-year decline.

“The safety of our residents and visitors is a top priority, and reducing fatalities on our roadways is a step in the right direction,” said Florida Governor Charlie Crist. “I commend our safety advocates and law enforcement officers who ensure that Florida remains a safe place to work and play.”

Officials point to the enactment of the primary seat-belt enforcement law and other safety and education initiatives as the reason for the decline. However, fatal car accidents have declined nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in March that traffic accidents declined nationwide to the lowest level since 1954. The federal government, which will release nationwide statistics in the coming weeks, projects that fatal crashes declined to 33,963, a 9 percent drop from the 37,261 deaths recorded in 2008.

As we reported this spring on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, the struggling economy has reduced travel and some experts expect fatal accidents to begin to increase as the economy recovers, particularly in vacation states like Florida.

Florida is also expected to publish its detailed crash report in the coming weeks.

Fatal Florida Traffic Accidents:

2009: 2,563
2008: 2,983
2007: 3,221
2006: 3,365
2005: 2,533