How safe is Florida for driving?

According to an annual report by the AHAS (Advocate for Highway and Auto Safety), Florida is one of the most dangerous and unsafe states to drive in. The report shows the rating of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on their progress towards implementing the 16 essential traffic laws.

Is it safe to drive in Florida

Although Florida is a popular vacation spot and didn’t get the name ‘Sunshine State’ for nothing, it isn’t necessarily the safest state to drive in. In recent years, Florida has experienced numerous road accidents, particularly due to excess alcohol consumption. So, is it safe to drive in Florida? Read on to find out more.

Florida Has Had Some Serious Accidents

Some parts of Florida are leading the way in terms of car accidents with alcohol as a primary contributor. Sarasota is one such place. Over the last 3 years, 12 out of every 100,000 Florida residents have died due to DUI fatalities. In Sarasota, the risk has increased by more than 70% in recent years. Lakeland, near Tampa, is another problematic area for those behind the wheel. Alcohol has been a primary cause here too.

Read more: How long does and accident affect auto insurance rates in Florida?

Teen Drivers Are A Problem

Recent studies have shown that young people are a particular problem when it comes to drink driving in Florida. Driving under the influence of alcohol is neither acceptable nor legal in the Sunshine State, but issues with youngsters in their 20s as well as those who are underage driving after becoming intoxicated is a huge cause for concern in Florida, with the number of fatalities on the roads due to this cause continuing to rise at a worrying rate.

Can I Protect Myself On Florida’s Roads?

It’s fair to say that sometimes accidents will occur regardless of the precautions you take. Nevertheless, there are some things that you’re able to do that can protect you and your passengers from harm while on the state’s roads.

Wear your seat belt at all times and make sure to sit up properly so the belt operates correctly in the event of a crash.

Always drive at the appropriate speed limit. You can control your own vehicle’s speed, even if you cannot control that of other vehicles on the road. If two vehicles crash and both are moving at a high speed, the impact will be magnified. If you don’t edge the speed limit when making regular trips, you’ll be able to respond more rapidly to a potential incident by safely and quickly decelerating, thus reducing the potential risk both to you and to your passengers.

Should you be involved in an accident, you need to be aware you have a responsibility in this state to move the vehicle to another location that is safe. This will ensure that the road remains clear and safe for other users so they can continue their journeys unimpeded. If your car is immobile, it’s your responsibility to call out a tow truck so it can be moved away from the road.

Should I Drive In Florida?

Read more: Drivers license Florida

Although some areas of Florida have become less safe for drivers than many in other states, you can take sensible precautions to keep yourself as safe on the roads as possible. It’s also important to remember that, even taking into account the recent growth in incidents on Florida’s roads, in general, driving is still relatively safe.

Latest Report on Traffic Safety

One of the latest findings on traffic safety was conducted by the Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws in 2019. It shows a thorough comparison of the traffic safety statistics across all states. The traffic safety laws include prevention and penalties methods for distracted driving behavior, seat belts, impaired driving, speeding, and safety for children and passengers. The laws were implemented to prevent lethal accidents. From the Roadmap of State Highway Safety, a color-rating system was used to categorize all the states depending on the number of laws enacted in the previous year.

The three-color categories that a state could fall into are:

  • Red - States that fall in this category have less than seven traffic safety laws that do not include rear and primary seat belt regulations.
  • Yellow - The states in this category have six to ten traffic safety laws, including rear and primary seat belt regulations. If a state has more than seven laws without the primary seat belt regulation, they will also fall under this category.
  • Green - The states in this category have about eleven to sixteen traffic safety laws, including rear and primary seat belt regulations. If a state has more than nine laws alongside the primary seat belt regulation and the rider helmet law, it will also fall under this category.

As you would have guessed, Florida falls under the red category. At the time of the report, they have only enacted five of the crucial traffic safety laws. From the rating, Florida is the sixth-worst state.

Occupant Protection

Using the primary and rear seat belts is the best approach to increase occupant protection. In 2017 alone, about 23,000 passenger occupants of vehicles lost their lives in car accidents because they were not wearing seat belts. Also, over 1000 lives were saved in Florida because they were using seat belts.

Child Passenger Safety

To increase the safety of a child passenger, it is best to place the child in the back seat coupled with a booster seat or restraint and a seat belt. This will lower the chances of death or injury when a vehicle accident occurs.

Impaired Driving

Using ignition interlock devices can help improve safety resulting from impaired drivers. Open container laws and child endangerment can help reduce these dangers and the potential death and injuries caused by these drivers.

Distracted Driving

One of the significant causes of traffic accidents in Florida is distracted driving. To reduce the damages caused by distracted drivers, laws like an all-driver restriction with phone calls and text messaging while on the wheel should be implemented.

Highway Traffic Safety Laws that are Critically Needed in Florida

There are about 350,000 traffic crashes recorded yearly in Florida. This results in about $10 billion in damages. This is quite alarming, and something needs to be done urgently to prevent it from escalating to a worse situation. The Florida government can start by introducing some necessary traffic safety laws to curb the rate of traffic crashes in the state. These needed laws in Florida are:

  • Passenger restrictions
  • Rear and primary seat belt enforcement
  • Booster seat enforcement for children above two years
  • Rear-facing children safety seats for children under the age of two
  • Stricter restrictions at night
  • Ignition interlocks for impaired drivers that have a history of drunk driving
  • The minimum age to acquire a learner’s permit should be sixteen
  • All-driver restrictions for phone calls and text messaging while on the wheel
  • Compulsory all-rider helmets for cyclists

Increasing the Overall Traffic Safety in the US

There are 406 laws required across the United States for optimal traffic safety. As it stands, no state has enacted all the recommended 16 traffic safety laws that are most critical. These laws are critical because of the number of impaired and distracted drivers across different states. There is also a rise in the number of erratic and reckless behavior, hence the need for these laws. Also, many of the things that cause casualties and car accidents can be prevented. It is also widely common for parents not to properly restrain their children via a booster or safety seat when driving. This shouldn’t be so. With the implementation of these traffic safety laws, there would be a substantial reduction in the number of accidents, death, and injuries recorded across all states.


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