When it comes to road safety, the State of Florida has fallen behind in terms of legal protections. This information comes from a recent report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The attorneys at the law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. take safety seriously and fight hard on behalf of its clients injured in traffic accidents.
This past year, Florida was reported as having 3,112 traffic-related fatalities. Additionally, over a ten-year period, 26,931 lives were lost in car accidents. According to the recent study, Florida meets only five of the required 16 road safety laws. This low score puts the state under a “red” rating.
The state failed specifically with respect to laws including the following:
- Occupant protection, including enforcement of rear seatbelt laws and motorcycle helmet laws for all riders;
- Laws protecting child passengers, including requiring children to be rear-facing in car seats until the age of two and requiring booster seat laws for children older than two years of age;
- Teen driving laws setting a higher age for a learner’s permit, creating nighttime driving restrictions, limiting teen passengers in the car, and requiring a driver be 18-years-old to have an unrestricted license;
- Graduated driver’s license program for new drivers;
- Requiring ignition interlock devices for all impaired drivers convicted;
- Distracted driving laws banning all text messaging use and making texting while driving a primary offense.
One of the major issues raised by the study involved seatbelt use. Of the deaths mentioned in the study, it was reported that 181 lives could have been saved had everyone in the vehicle, including drivers and passengers, worn their seatbelts.
Safe driving with teen drivers has also presented a problem. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), approximately 4,750 individuals died in accidents involving drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 in 2017 nationwide. In Florida alone, this figure was 3,653 deaths between the years 2008 and 2017.
One recommendation that is being made to help with this issue is implementation of a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program, which has teen drivers start out with a gradual experience, moving into different driving stages over time and in lower risk settings. Many states already have these laws on the books and have had great success with them.
When it comes to distracted driving, Florida is one of the biggest offenders, but it has not caused the law to change. Texting while driving is still considered a secondary offense in the State of Florida, which means law enforcement needs another reason to pull someone over before citing him or her for texting and driving. Forty-three states and D.C. have laws that make texting while driving primary offenses, banning text messaging for all drivers. Florida lawmakers have made several attempts in the past to enact stricter legislation when it comes to distracted driving, but these efforts have consistently fallen flat.
Involved in an Auto Accident in Central Florida?
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a car accident, it is important you contact an experienced Orlando auto accident attorney to help you file a claim. The law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. is dedicated to protecting the rights of those involved in automobile accidents and will fight aggressively on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve following an accident.
We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, property damage, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail. Our office is open daily from 8AM – 5PM. We are also available by phone 24 Hours a Day, 7 days a week at 407-422-4529.