The U.S. Department of Transportation has released new statistics showing that the number of fatal Florida car accidents is lower. Fatal car accident rates are also dropping in Georgia and nationally, even though the number of miles Americans drive is actually increasing. This has led many experts to weigh in on why the rate of accidents seems to be dropping. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, car accident fatalities in 2009 have declined to 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles, compared to 2008’s 1.26 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven. During the same time period, the total car miles driven in the US increased by 0.2%.
Fatal Florida car accidents have dropped even more than the national rate. Between 2008 and 2009, the number of Florida traffic accident fatalities decreased by over 400 deaths. The drop has many questioning whether the decrease is permanent, cyclical, or related to a specific set of factors. The numbers, while welcome, have many people questioning the cause of the decrease. Some federal officials claim that the change is permanent. Other possible reasons for the good news might be:
1) A poor economy. Some experts believe that fewer people are driving often due to less expendable income. With less money, experts argue, fewer people are traveling or going on unnecessary trips and fewer people on the roads means fewer car accidents.
2) Better drivers. An administrator with the National Highway Transportation Safety believes that drivers are getting the message from public service announcements and are taking better precautions, such as wearing seatbelts and choosing not to drive under the influence.
3) Less driving. At least one Florida’s sheriff’s department claims that Florida car accidents are decreased because fewer are driving. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, in Florida the number of vehicle miles driven in 2009 decreased by 2%. With fewer people driving in the state, it is possible that some Florida pedestrian accidents and car accidents are simply being avoided.
4) Safer cars. Both car manufacturers and some police departments believe that safer cars may be contributing to fewer fatalities in Florida car accidents. Passenger side airbags, for example, are now standard in many newer vehicles, possibly meaning fewer Florida brain injuries in collisions and therefore fewer fatalities.
5) Laws. New laws are being developed all the time to make Florida safer. For example, as of July 2009, a new primary seat belt allows police to pull over Florida drivers for not wearing a seat belt. Prior to that new law, police had to pull over drivers for another reason and could not pull over a motorist just for not wearing a seatbelt. As well, Florida has a tough law for motorists with multiple accidents. Any Florida driver who has three or more at-fault car accidents within a three year period is required to take driving school in order to brush up on their driving skills.
If you have been in a Florida car accident and need a qualified Florida personal injury attorney or simply want to learn about your legal options, contact the Flaxman Group. The Flaxman Group is proud to have offered assistance and representation to Florida car accident victims for decades. We serve the Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead communities as well as surrounding areas.