Auto accidents, dangerous drivers, and roadway risks are potential hazards nearly anywhere in the U.S., but in Florida, they seem to have become a way of life. That’s according to a new study ranking Florida drivers among the worst in the nation.
According to SmartAsset, which publishes an annual list of States with the Worst Drivers based on publically available data, Florida was ranked as the 8th state with the worst drivers in 2018. Although it is an improvement over the previous two years, when Florida held the top spot for having the worst motorists, it still serves to highlight just how many problems Florida roadways have when it comes to auto accidents, serious injuries, and deaths.
As a firm that fights for accident victims and families across Florida, our team at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin has seen these “statistics” in person. We know that even the most safety conscious individuals can suffer serious injuries or death in preventable accidents, and have dedicated our practice to helping them navigate the personal injury and wrongful death process.
Reasons Behind the Rankings
Florida’s long-standing ranking among the top states with the worst drivers is the result of many various factors. Some of these include:
- Uninsured Motorist Rates – Florida leads the nation when it comes to the number of uninsured drivers on the road. According to the study, less than 75% of drivers in the state have auto insurance. Uninsured drivers, and even under-insured drivers without sufficient coverage, can put victims at risk of not being able to recover the full amount of compensation they require after being harmed in preventable wrecks, especially if they suffer catastrophic injuries like spinal cord injuries or paralysis and face extensive economic and non-economic damages. For these reasons, motorists in Florida are strongly encouraged to carry UM / UIM insurance to protect themselves when it matters most.
- Hit-and-Run Crashes – The high rate of uninsured and under-insured motorists plays a big factor in why the state is among the top three in the country with the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run accidents, according to a study from AAA’s traffic safety foundation. In Florida, there were over 1,800 hit-and-run crashes involving at least one fatality, 206 of which occurred in 2016 alone.
- Pedestrian Fatalities – Records from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) showed that 2017 was a particularly dangerous year for Florida pedestrians. In addition to high rates of pedestrian accidents and injuries, the state also ranked in the number two spot in the nation for total pedestrian deaths. Through the first half of that year, over 300 pedestrians were killed by Florida motorists.
- Bicyclist Deaths – Bicyclists in Florida are also at greater risk of suffering catastrophic injuries and death in roadway accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows Florida’s death rate for bicycle accidents was nearly 60% higher than the second-leading state. That’s an average of just over 6 cyclist deaths per 100,000 people. Tampa led the entire country in fatal bicycle accidents, with Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami also making the list of most dangerous cities for cyclists.
- Other Roadway Risks – While uninsured motorists, hit-and-run wrecks, and pedestrian and bicycle accidents have been trending upwards in Florida in recent years, there remain a number of negligent driving behaviors that continue to create elevated risks on state roads. These include accidents caused by drunk driving and distracted driving, both of which cause thousands of preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths every year.
Protecting Your Rights After a Preventable Wreck
While the numbers paint a grim picture for those who travel on or even near Florida roads, the silver lining is that there is a system in place for victims and families to take action when they suffer harm and losses. At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, our personal injury lawyers have earned national recognition for our ability to help clients effectively navigate the civil justice system following all types of preventable accidents. By utilizing more than 220 years of collective experience, our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for past clients, and are prepared to help others throughout Palm Beach County and beyond in their fight for justice.
To discuss a serious injury or fatal accident case with a lawyer, contact us today. We offer free case evaluations, and handle accident cases on contingency fees – meaning there’s no fee if no recovery is made.