The Numbers Don't Lie: A Florida Attorney Weighs in on Staggering Lake County Crash Data
We hear about them frequently on the news but have drivers not learned anything from the unusually high number of fatal crashes each year? Every day, families throughout Florida are devastated by the loss of a loved one or an incapacitating injury.
Yet people still drive excessively fast around intersections and areas where pedestrians and bicyclists are present. Many people can still be seen looking at their cellphones behind the wheel. Oftentimes, it takes a tragedy for someone to acknowledge how dangerous their driving habits are.
What's worse, Florida has been deemed the most dangerous state for pedestrians, with an average annual fatality rate of 2.73 per 100,000 people, according to Smart Growth America's 2019 Dangerous by Design.
What recent statewide crash data tells us
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recently shared statewide and county crash data for 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Lake County had a total of 4,907 crashes — which resulted in 62 deaths and 4,022 fatalities. The data also revealed:
- 53 bicyclist crashes with two fatalities
- 165 motorcycle crashes with 18 fatalities
- 91 pedestrian crashes with nine fatalities
So far, 2019 isn't looking much better. Crash data as recent as March 31st show that Lake County had a total of 1,304 crashes with seven fatalities and 1,051 injuries.
In addition, there were 12 bicyclist crashes with no fatalities, 36 motorcycle crashes with one fatality, and 26 pedestrian crashes with two fatalities.
Statewide, Florida saw 401,851 crashes in 2018 — including 3,150 fatalities and 254,484 injuries. As of March 31st of 2019, those numbers are 99,815 crashes, 838 fatalities, and 63,138 injuries.
What can be done to bring these numbers down?
Safety advocates point to poor roadway infrastructure as one of the leading factors in serious and fatal crashes. Many cities across the US, including Florida, have adopted the Vision Zero program to achieve zero road deaths by the year 2050. While zero deaths may be unlikely, the effort to reach that goal may help slash the number of fatal crashes we see each year in Florida.
The Vision Zero program is intended to save lives by educating all road users on how roadway culture impacts safety. For example, the common assumption is that traffic deaths are inevitable. Vision Zero wants drivers and other road users to consider the following:
- Traffic deaths are preventable
- Driver error is inevitable and should be integrated into each safety approach
- Rather than focus on preventing collisions, focus on preventing fatal and severe crashes
Unfortunately, not all drivers will take the safety of others into consideration. When their actions cause someone else's injury or death, they should be held accountable.