Could reducing speed limits in Florida help to reduce the number of serious and fatal car crashes in West Palm Beach and throughout the state? According to a recent report from WCTV News, the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering reducing speed limits throughout the state to prevent pedestrian accidents and fatalities, and to reduce the rate of traffic collisions in general. As the report clarifies, Florida lawmakers have been trying to lower speed limits for quite some time, but the legislation has not yet passed. Given that bills designed to reduce Florida’s speed limits have not become law, the Florida DOT is “considering taking the matter into its own hands.”
Florida is a Dangerous Place for Pedestrian Accidents and Fatalities
Why is there a need for reduced speed limits in Florida? For anyone who has looked at statistics concerning pedestrian accidents and fatalities, that answer might seem obvious. As the report notes, there were 649 deadly pedestrian accidents in Florida in 2016, and there have already been 318 reported pedestrian fatalities as of September 2017. Indeed, “of the top ten most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians, nine are in Florida.” In other words, something needs to be done to reduce the rate—and risk—of serious pedestrian accidents and traffic collisions throughout the state.
How would the Florida DOT go about changing speed limits? It has not yet said which roads it is considering for speed limit reductions. We do know, however, that implementing lower speed limits would be part of the “Complete Streets” program, which was put in place back in 2014. One of the major aims of that program is to reduce pedestrian fatalities.
Speeding is a Primary Cause of Deadly Pedestrian Crashes
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has emphasized that traffic speed limits, and driver speeding, are among the primary causes of deadly pedestrian accidents. Indeed, “traffic speeds have been identified as one of the leading factors in pedestrian fatalities” throughout the country. Through a recent study, AAA determined that “fatalities are four times less likely when speed is reduced from 40 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.”
According to a fact sheet from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes” more generally, as well. Since 2003, speeding has been a major factor in at least 30 percent of all reported accidents. Are some drivers more likely than others to speed? Largely, the NHTSA links speeding risk factors to age and sex. Drivers in the age groups of 15-20 and 21-24 are more likely than older drivers to speed, and more fatal crashes caused by speeding involved a male driver.
In addition to reducing speed limits, the Florida DOT is also considering other steps to reduce pedestrian fatalities, such as adding bicycle lanes, narrowing streets (which is also aimed at reducing speeds), and widening sidewalks.
Contact a Florida Traffic Collision Lawyer
If you or someone you love recently got hurt in a crash caused by a driver who was speeding, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. An experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer can discuss your case with you. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC today for more information.