As 2019 gave way to a new year, the number of Florida’s fatal motor vehicle accidents was 3,251, a slight increase from 2018’s 3,135 fatalities.
What a difference a year makes. 2020 is nearing its end, at a time in history when fewer people were on the roads and that will likely be lauded due to the events of the past several months. Currently, the death toll on Florida roads is approximately 2,082, with little more than a full month remaining in 2020.
Factors That Could Increase Fatalities
The public health emergency that created shutdowns and lockdowns saw Florida roads become unusually sparse. Throughout the state, traffic jams were few and far between. Fewer cars meant fewer accidents. However, if the vehicle fatalities continue at their current pace, Florida will not be all that far behind the previous, non-pandemic year.
A variety of factors could be playing a role. One, in particular, involves the diminishing number of officers in The Florida Highway Patrol. An alarming amount of resignations have meant fewer patrol vehicles on the road.
Fewer watchful eyes with radar guns aimed at the roads embolden many drivers. Even I-75’s 70 miles per hour speed limit is too slow for those choosing to put the pedal to the metal. More and more daring drivers are putting life and limb at risk by traveling ten or more miles over the speed limit.
High speeds create higher risk. The faster a diver is traveling, the less time they have to react to another car, person, or road obstruction. Getting distracted for an instant or making the smallest of errors, particularly while driving closely behind another vehicle, could have deadly consequences.
In a year when many lives have been needlessly lost on and off Florida roads, drivers traveling at a slower pace could bring a bit more safety during perilous and uncertain times.