A national safety advocacy group recently published a report on road safety in the United States, and Florida is not favorably reflected. In fact, according to this research, our roads are amongst the least safe in the nation.
On January 20, the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety released their annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, which the agency says is a "’report card’ for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, grading them on enactment of 15 basic traffic safety laws." According to this report based on information gathered through an alliance of consumer, public health, and safety groups, "all states are still missing critically important safety laws", and Florida is amongst the worst.
The 2016 Advocates report finds that "Florida falls dangerously behind in adopting all of Advocates’ recommended optimal laws." A number of the laws for which Florida is criticized for not enacting are known as GDL (graduated driver licensing) laws, which enforce strict standards for young drivers. For example, the group says that Florida still needs to pass laws which require drivers to be 16 years old to get a learner’s permit, laws which restrict nighttime driving and passengers for young drivers, and laws which prohibit young drivers from using cell phones while driving.
In addition to relatively lax laws on young drivers, Florida also lacks laws making texting while driving a primary offense, laws requiring back-seat passengers over the age of 18 to wear a seat belt, and laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
This agency reports that in 2013, there were 2,494 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in Florida, and that motor vehicle crashes cost our state roughly $10,750,000,000 every year. According to this report, it is especially important that Florida toughen laws on teen drivers, as 317 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in Florida in the year 2012. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the number of traffic fatalities appears to be on the rise nation-wide, so it is vitally important that lawmakers take necessary steps to protect drivers and passengers by pushing through basic road safety laws.
President of Advocates, Jackie Gillan, states, "Across the nation, legislatures are missing in action while more people are being killed in motor vehicle crashes. Last year only six states improved their highway safety laws while early predictions show deaths on the rise for the first half of the year. We are missing state leaders who are willing to fight for and advance proven lifesaving laws. More people are dying on our roads and unfortunately, fewer Governors and state legislators are making safety a priority. As legislatures kick into gear in 2016, we urge them to advance these laws. They will save lives and save taxpayer dollars."
Sadly, reports show that driver negligence is the cause of a shocking number of the serious injuries and deaths on Florida’s roads. If you or your loved one has suffered severe injury or even wrongful death due to another’s unsafe or reckless driving, you have the right to pursue justice and compensation in an auto accident lawsuit. To learn more, please contact our Florida car crash lawyers for a free legal consultation.