Florida has many excellent distinctions. We have some of the best weather, best beaches, and among the most beautiful scenery in the country. Florida residents are largely well-educated, kind, and talented. It’s easy to be proud of a state like ours. After all, millions of people from around the world come to visit us each year.
Unfortunately, according to the organization Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, we have one additional distinction, and this one is not so praise-worthy. According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Florida is among the worst states in this country when it comes to traffic safety.
Florida has several rules not matching up to safety rules in other states:
1) Texting bans. In Florida, texting while driving is a secondary offense. This means a driver has to be pulled over for something else before they can be ticketed for texting while driving. Across the country, many other states have texting bans.
2) Motorcycle rules. In Florida, not all motorcycle riders have to wear a helmet. Adult riders with adequate insurance are allowed to ride without a helmet, if they so choose.
3) Booster seats. For children through the age of 7 years, there are no rules requiring booster seats, even though other states have such laws. Booster seats have been shown to protect kids who have outgrown car seats but who still cannot use seat belts safely.
4) Seat belt laws. Adults in the back seat of a car do not need to wear seat-belts in Florida. In other states, all passengers are required to wear seat-belts.
Florida is also among top states in the nation when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, according to some recent research. In 2014 alone, there were 2,494 traffic-related deaths on Florida’s highways.
While Florida has much to recommend it, we can certainly do better when it comes to road safety and we can do more to prevent roadway accidents. There are many things you can do to make Florida safer:
1) Write to your elected representative. If you feel some of Florida’s traffic laws should be changed, write to your representatives and let them know.
2) Don’t rely on laws to drive safe. You can choose to drive safer. For example, if you have adult passengers in the back seat, ask them to speak up. If you have a child under the age of seven but too big for a car seat, buy them a booster seat. Wear a motorcycle helmet when you’re riding on motorcycles and keep a spare helmet on hand in case you give someone a lift. Don’t wait for laws to change to make positive choices.
3) Talk to friends and family. Encourage friends and family to make smarter decisions when driving. If you have a family member who rides motorcycles, for example, get them a helmet. If you have a teen learning to drive, pay for extra defensive driving lessons so they can stay safer on the roads.
At Flaxman Law Group, our attorneys are powerful advocates for road safety. As part of the South Florida community, we see the impact of car accidents first hand and through our offices in Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead we support and represent plaintiffs who have been injured in traffic collisions. If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident anywhere in South Florida, contact our law firm for a free consultation.