Florida is not doing enough to reduce the risk of serious and fatal traffic accidents, particularly those involving children, the National Transportation Safety Board said this week in recommending that the state strengthen its driving laws.
Our Fort Myers injury attorneys frequently report on the dangers car accidents pose to children in South Florida. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, as well as for teen drivers ages 15 to 20. Additionally, Florida joins Texas and California as states that routinely report the greatest number of accidents in virtually every category, including pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents.
The News-Press reported that the federal safety watchdog cited Florida’s lack of a law requiring parents to use booster seats for children under 8 years old. South Dakota and Arizona are the only other states that have no requirements for children ages 4 to 8. About 3,000 children in that age group have died in car accidents in the last decade, according to the government, and about half of them were not properly restrained.
As we have reported on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, Florida is also among a dwindling number of states that have not enacted a law banning the use of cell phones or text messaging while driving. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that only Florida, Hawaii, Ohio and South Carolina have no regulations aimed at distracted driving. Even school bus drivers can drive and text message under current Florida law.
The NTSB would also like to see Florida limit the number of passengers a teen driver can transport and would like to see a motorcycle helmet law, improved seat belt use and better enforcement of drunk driving laws.
“State governments are in a unique position to affect the most significant improvement in certain areas of transportation safety,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “Our Most Wanted List spotlights those states that have made noteworthy progress in better protecting the traveling public – and those that have not.”
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, is a law firm dedicated to representing accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout South Florida, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sebring. Call for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.