New Report Finds Florida Traffic Safety Laws Are Lacking

A recent report prepared by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (“AHAS”), calls on the elected officials of all fifty states to adopt 15 basic traffic safety laws that the AHAS maintains have the potential to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year.

According to the report, states that adopt the laws will benefit by reducing the number of preventable deaths and injuries due to traffic accidents, save on medical and work loss costs such as Medicaid, hospitalization, emergency responders and law enforcement, and qualify for federal grants designed to encourage enactment of traffic safety programs. The release also contains a report card grading each state’s efforts to adopt the proposed laws.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia received “green” ratings, indicating significant advancement toward adopting all of the recommended laws. Six states received a “red” rating, indicating poor performance due to a dangerous lack of basic traffic safety laws. Florida was one of thirty states to receive a “yellow” rating, indicating that a “moderately positive performance but with numerous gaps still in [its] highway
According to the report, Florida saw 2,398 traffic fatalities in 2011 and suffered an average annual economic cost due to motor vehicle accidents of $14.4 billion. So which recommended traffic laws is Florida missing?

Booster seats for all children through age seven. According to the report, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children age five and older, causing 194 deaths in children ages four to seven died in 2011. The Partners for Child Passenger Safety estimates that booster seats reduce the risk of injury to children ages four through seven in a motor vehicle accident by 59%.

All motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet. Florida law permits motorcyclists over twenty-one years old to ride their bike without a helmet as long as they have insurance coverage of at least $10,000.

Graduated Drivers License (GDL) Programs. GDL programs are designed to gradually introduce teens to driving by “phasing in” different driving privileges over time. Each of the following is considered one of the 15 proposed laws:

a Minimum age of sixteen to obtain a learner’s permit.
b Stronger restrictions on conditions under which teens can drive at night.
c Restrictions on when and how many passengers a teen can have in a vehicle.
d Restrictions prohibiting teens from talking on cell phones while driving.

Installation of ignition interlock device for all drunk-driving offenders.

Ban on texting-while-driving for all drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 3,331 fatalities in distraction-affected crashes in 2011. According to a 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, text messaging while driving increased the risk of an accident by 23.2 times.

The Miami accident attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. appreciate the efforts of the AHAS to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents occurring across America. However, it is important for all motorists to remember that they have legal options should they be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Our Miami, Florida personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by careless and negligent drivers. If you or someone you know has been injured in auto accident, or car crash, contact our legal team online

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