The good news is that for what seems like the first time in a long time, Florida has a relatively low rating when it comes to poor driving: 32 out of 51 (with D.C. included), according to a recent study by CarInsuranceComparison.com. In fact, it doesn’t even rank in the top 10 when study authors ranked factors such as:
- Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled;
- Percentage of fatal crashes involving failure to obey traffic laws;
- Drunk driving;
- Careless driving resulting in fatal crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists per 100,000 residents.
Interestingly, Montana was deemed to have the worst drivers in the country. That was followed by South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota Delaware and Mississippi.
However, Florida did come out No. 1 in one category: Careless Driving.
This comes as little surprise to our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys.
The Sunshine State ranked 16th for number of traffic deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. We ranked 29th for traffic fatalities related to violations of traffic laws, such as obeying traffic signals or wearing a seat belt. We were 41st when it came to drunk driving and 51st when it came to speeding. However, we were No. 1 when it came to careless driving for fatal collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists per 100,000.
While the fact the state ranks so low with regard to speeding and drunk driving is a bit surprising, the grave situation as it relates to bicyclists and pedestrians is less than shocking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual Traffic Safety Facts for bicyclists and other cyclists in 2013, there were 743 bicyclists killed and another 48,000 killed nationally that year. That represented a 20 percent increase in the number of deaths since 2010, and was in no small part due to the numbers in Florida. That year, the state had 133 bicyclist fatalities, accounting for 5.5 percent of all traffic deaths.
The only state that had a higher number of bicycle deaths was California, which had 141. That’s just eight more deaths, despite the fact that California outnumbers Florida by about 19 million people.
Similarly, the NHTSA’s 2013 Traffic Safety Facts data on pedestrians indicated that of the 4,735 pedestrians killed in the U.S. that year, 501 of them were from Florida. California did have 200 more pedestrian deaths that year, but when population was factored in, California’s rate was 1.83 per 100,000 population, whereas Florida’s was 2.56 per 100,000 population. Delaware had the highest percentage of traffic fatalities – 2.70 per 100,000 population, but the overall number of pedestrian deaths in that state was 25. In the District of Columbia, the 9 pedestrian deaths in the state that year comprised 45 percent of all its traffic fatalities, compared to Florida’s 20.8 percent.
The most recent study factored in statistics available from the NHTSA.
Florida’s careless driving statute is codified in F.S. 316.1925. The law states that anyone who operates a vehicle on public roads have to do so in a “careful and prudent manner,” with appropriate regard for grade, width, curves, corners, traffic and “all other attendant circumstances.” Failure to do so will not only result in a ticket and fine, it could means civil litigation that results in costly liability for any resultant injuries.
Although the statute does not specifically define, “careful and prudent manner,” it’s often cited in rear-end collisions (for failure to maintain a safe distance), failrue to check when reversing (failure to yield), unsafe overtaking and striking a pedestrian.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Car Insurance Study Settles It: Montana Has Worst Drivers, Nov. 27, 2015, By Bart Jansen, USA Today
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Technology Holds Promise of Ending Driver Distraction, Nov. 13, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer Blog