According to the Florida Integrated Report Exchange System or FIRES, there were a total of 281,340 crashes in 2012, a 23.4 percent increase over 2011. As a result of these car accidents, there were 2,430 deaths and 198,032 injuries.
While the number of car accidents between 2011 and 2012 appeared to increase significantly, the state was quick to point out that statutory changes resulted in more accidents being reported than previously. However, many legal experts believe that the new reporting system more accurately reflects the actual number of crashes leading to injury and death across the state.
The Top 7 Car Accident Causes and How To Avoid Them
Car Accidents are often due to relatively common factors. By understanding the top causes of car crashes, drivers are better able to drive defensively and avoid situations that may lead to injury or death. In Florida, the top causes of car accidents are:
- Careless or distracted driving. It is estimated that up to a third of all fatal accidents involve distraction of some type. Talking or texting on a handheld device, eating and even smoking have been connected with careless or distracted driving. In 2012, 7651 fatal Florida crashes were attributed to careless or negligent driving according to the FIRES report, but many other crashes that were labeled differently may also have involved distraction or carelessness. Paying attention at all times is critical in order to avoid accidents.
- Alcohol and drugs. Of the 17,258 Florida crashes in 2012 in which alcohol was a factor, 805 caused at least one fatality. Alcohol and drug use remains one of the single most significant factors in causing serious injury or death in motor vehicle accidents. Avoiding alcohol and drugs while driving should be simple, but unfortunately many people continue to drive even after they have been drinking or when they are taking prescription drugs.
- Speeding. About 4.5 percent of all Florida traffic deaths are attributed to speed, but the number may be higher since reporting standards vary from one place to another in attributing the true cause of a crash. Certainly, speed is involved in many fatal accidents, and people are more likely to die in a crash involving speed than in a low-speed crash. Keep your speed under control at all times.
- Failure to yield. Failure to yield is often interpreted as “cutting someone off” or running a red light, but it simply means any action that impedes another driver’s ability to maintain safe driving distance and speed. Always give the right-of-way rather than taking it. At least 404 people died in Florida in 2012 as a direct result of failure to yield by one or more drivers.
- Following too closely. While there were 12 fatalities in Florida in 2012 associated with following too closely, there were more than 7,000 injuries from rear-end collisions. It is possible to have a fatality in a rear-end accident, particularly if the driver is traveling very fast. However, it is far more common to see injuries to the driver and passengers in the front car, particularly whiplash injuries. Always give yourself plenty of following room and allow yourself time to stop if another vehicle must stop quickly in front of you.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. While Florida does not specifically track types of vehicle malfunctions that may contribute to crashes, there is no doubt that failed brakes, tire blowouts and other vehicle problems contribute to crashes. Always make sure your vehicle is serviced regularly and replace tires, brakes and other hard-wearing components when needed.
- Aggression/road rage. While most crashes are labeled “careless” driving, Florida law enforcement does make a distinction when there is evidence that aggressive driving played a role in the crash. Statistics show that at least 59 people died in Florida “road rage” accidents or aggressive driving situations in 2012. Before you act, think about what you are doing, even if another driver cuts you off or does something to make you angry.
By being aware of the most common contributing factors to crashes, you can make Florida’s roads safer!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligent driving of another person, contact our law office today at 800.360.7015 or fill out our free case evaluation form for a no cost, no obligation consultation.