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Analysis: Florida Highways Among Most Deadly in the U.S.

“Steer clear of the state of Florida,” the lead sentence of a recent Forbes.com article reads. The reason? Our traffic safety is atrocious, particularly on South Florida highways. Of those that had the most car accident fatalities in the last decade:

  • Florida U.S. 1 – 1,079 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 41 – 772 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 27 – 614 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 441 – 442 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 17 – 420 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 98 – 465 deathshighway

Six of the top 10 deadliest highways in America are right here in the Sunshine State. The Forbes writer referred to these as “death tollways.” The numbers were based on a recent analysis of federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by a company called GeoTab.¬†

Surprisingly, I-75 didn’t make the list, though our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers know it too is extremely dangerous. The highway spans 471 miles in Florida, from Miami through Naples and Fort Myers, up to Punta Gorda and Sarasota and through Tampa Bay before winding inward toward Ocala and Gainesville and up through to Georgia. For that entire length, the speed limit is 70 mph. Accidents happen on it virtually every day.

Just a few examples of those that occurred recently:

  • Three killed and one seriously injured in I-75 in North Port in March when a car struck the left rear of a semi that had been stopped along the side of the highway due to mechanical failure.
  • Two children and two adults from Hollywood were killed in Alachua in March when a passenger car swerved off the highway and struck a disabled tractor-trailer.
  • One semi-truck driver was killed after rear-ending another semi-truck driver on I-75 in Sarasota in April.
  • Two men were killed in Naples on I-75 in April when a driver slammed into a box truck that had been pulled over. Both the driver of that passenger car and his passenger, ages 20 and 21, died at the scene.

Part of the issue is that speed limits are so high and we have many drivers traveling from out-of-town who may be on long trips and also not familiar with these roads. But many locals are killed in highway accidents too. In the vast majority of crashes, operator error is to blame.

As noted by a recent analysis of this data in TCPalm.com, the biggest issues that lead to crashes on South Florida highways are:

  • Angle/ left-turn crashes. This is when a motorist takes a left turn and broadsides another vehicle. These are some of the most severe crashes. While they account for 20 percent of the overall number of crashes on Florida highways, they account for 27 percent of serious crashes and 24 percent of all fatal crashes.
  • Red light running. We see this a lot on U.S. 1, U.S. 41 and other highways where traffic signals are installed. Researchers have concluded red light running accounts for two deaths and 340 injuries every single day in this country.
  • Unexpected encounters. These¬†happen when high-speed traffic on broad highways encounter vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. U.S. 41 is a prime example of this. Motorists who aren’t alert and sober are at risk of causing a crash.
  • Speeders. Speed accounts for one-third of all fatal crashes, and most drivers when queried admit to speeding at least once in the last 30 days. Most say they are simply in a hurry. Unfortunately, they risk never arriving at all.

If you are injured in a Fort Myers car accident, we can help.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:

Death Tollways: The Most Dangerous Highways In America, April 28, 2017, By Jim Gorzelany, Forbes.com

More Blog Entries:

Texting and Driving: Nothing to LOL About, April 24, 2017, Car Accident Lawyer in Fort Myers Blog