“If you’re at all serious about auto safety… steer clear of the state of Florida.” That’s the lead in a Forbes Magazine article detailing the fact that Florida has the No. 1 most dangerous highway in the America, it’s also where you will find six of the 10 most dangerous roads overall.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers know that highway accidents often end in tragedy. There are a few reasons for this:
- High speeds. Florida lawmakers authorized the state department of transportation (FDOT) to establish a maximum 70 mph on the interstates, 65 mph on four-lane divided highways and 60 mph on other state highways. Speed is a known factor in one-third of all fatal crashes (and that’s probably an underestimate). Excessive speed is not only a catalyst for crashes, it exponentially exacerbates the severity and resulting injuries.
- Traffic volume. Florida is home to more than 20 million people, according to U.S. Census figures. But that’s just half the story. Florida has been on a record-setting trend with tourism numbers, welcoming between 105 and 115 million tourists a year. That figure is expected to reach 160 million by 2025. Many of these visitors are traveling by vehicle – either to get here or once already in the state. Highways are a primary means of travel. More cars means more collisions.
- Large trucks. As defined by the NHTSA, large trucks are those with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds, though 86 percent of those involved in fatal crashes weighed over 26,000 pounds. In total, these vehicles cause more than 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries a year. While it’s not unusual to encounter these large trucks occasionally on urban roads, they are primarily traveling on highways, either across state or across country. Truckers who are inexperienced, fatigued or impaired pose a serious risk to anyone with whom they share the road.
- Distraction. Approximately 90 percent of the U.S. population owns a phone, and 20 percent use that device in real traffic or transit information (according to Gartner, Inc.) – and that doesn’t include the people who are busy simply calling, texting or Facebooking. Our Fort Lauderdale lawyers know that it is a serious problem on the highway, where a 5-second glance at a cell phone at 55 mph means passing the length of an entire football field blind.
Although rural roads are known to be quite dangerous too (accounting for more than half of all traffic deaths nationally even though only one-fifth of the population lives there), highways in South Florida are often the site of devastating, debilitating injuries. Plus, 9 out of 10 Floridians live in urban areas, and thus are more likely to be traveling on inner-city roads and highways. FDOT reports 17 percent of Floridians commute to work daily across county lines, which very often means taking the highway.
FDOT reports the state highways:
- Stretch 12,116 miles
- Account for 10 percent of all intersections
- Account for 60 percent of total fatalities
According to the FDOT’s annual “Driving Down Fatalities” report, there were nearly 13,000 deaths and 103,000 serious injuries in the state in a recent five-year span.
State highways account for 60 percent of all the state’s fatalities. One study by GeoTab listed Florida’s U.S. 1 as the most dangerous highway in the country in all three categories – crash rate, number of crashes and total fatalities. The road, which runs through 13 Florida Counties from the tip of Key West to the Florida-Georgia border, has been the site of 1,080 fatalities over the course of a decade. Another earlier study named the 132 miles of Interstate 4, which runs from Tampa to Daytona Beach, as the nation’s most dangerous over a six-year time frame.
Other noteworthy peril sites over a 10-year span:
- FL-US 41 (772 traffic deaths)
- FL US-27 (614 traffic deaths)
- FL US-441 (442 traffic deaths)
- FL US-17 (420 traffic deaths)
- FL US-98 (465 traffic deaths)
In looking at the main causes of serious injuries and fatalities in the five-year analysis, the state outlined:
- Lane departures (5,900 deaths, 34,000 injuries)
- Intersection crashes (3,000 deaths, 34,000 injuries)
- Impaired drivers (4,000 deaths, 7,300 serious injuries)
- Distracted driving (1,000 deaths, 15,200 serious injuries)
Our attorneys recognize that addressing these and other issues on our highways will require an approach that includes better traffic engineering, heightened enforcement of traffic safety laws, better education and awareness of highway safety and dangers and improved emergency response times.
Lane departures are a top area of concern, accounting for 30 percent of all highway accidents and 47 percent of all deaths. Authorities say both roadway design and driver behavior (distraction, drowsiness and speeding) must be addressed.
If you have been injured in a highway car accident in Fort Lauderdale, our skilled lawyers can answer your questions about legal options.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.