Car Accidents, fatalities and injuries are down in Florida in 2009, but distracted driving remains an epidemic in the U.S.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), fatalities caused by car accidents in Florida hit its lowest level on record in 2009. It appears that in comparison to 2008, Florida’s traffic crashes decreased by more than 3%, fatalities decreased by 14.1%, and injuries decreased by 1.2%. Also, Florida lead the nation with the highest rate of decrease in traffic fatalities in 2009. The FLHSMV recognizes that these statistics are affected by the economic climate, increased safety of vehicles, increased seat belt use, fewer vehicles on the road and other factors. These statistics are good news for Floridians, but more work can be done.
Florida still does not have a law in effect to address texting or cell phone use while driving, and our teens and younger adults are most at risk. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study based on 2006 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 3 and 34. In Florida, many bills were introduced in 2009 to address texting while driving but all failed. Florida is one of only twelve remaining states that do not have a law that addresses distracted driving, texting and cell phone use while driving. On September 21, 2010, Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood kicked off a National Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C. The summit will attempt to address the challenges and opportunities for national anti-distracted driving efforts. Click here for more traffic safety facts for 2009.