The Florida counties of Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin are leading the state in traffic crashes. A recent article in the TC Palm investigated the reasons behind it. Rich Campbell wrote an article in the opinion section titled Rich Campbell: Do you reside in Treasure Coast county that leads Florida in traffic crash increases?.
He wrote, “Motor vehicle crashes have risen sharply in each county on the Treasure Coast. And one county — Indian River — recorded the highest percentage increase for crashes in the ENTIRE STATE during the past five years. “The statistics show our roads are more dangerous than they were five years ago,” St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said.
The numbers speak for themselves. From 2011 to 2015, motor vehicle crashes rose by 100 percent in St. Lucie County and 105 percent in Martin County, according to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System. And the regional — and statewide — leader is Indian River County, which recorded a whopping 175 percent hike in crashes during the five-year period. Only seven other counties in Florida posted crash increases of 100 percent or more. The statewide average is 64 percent.
“I’m surprised by the 175 percent increase,” Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said. “But it could be expected with all the factors involved.” Not surprisingly, injuries from traffic accidents have followed a similar trajectory. What is fueling the steep rise in crashes?
One of the causes is specific to Indian River County. The Florida Department of Transportation’s widening project on Interstate 95 north of State Road 60 has created a danger zone for motorists. There have been 386 crashes — more than one a day — along a 12.5-mile stretch of I-95 over the past 12 months, according to Loar. In December, Loar successfully lobbied state transportation officials to reduce the posted speed limit from 70 mph to 60 mph in the construction zone. Still, the danger persists.
Both Mascara and Loar fault distracted drivers, in part, for the rise in motor vehicle crashes. “Our deputies continually see motorists texting, talking on phones or putting on makeup,” Mascara said. Both sheriffs strongly endorse toughening Florida’s benign anti-texting law, which requires a motorist to commit another offense before he can be cited for texting while driving. “Making texting a primary offense would help reduce distracted driving,” Mascara said. There were more than 45,000 distracted-driving crashes in Florida in 2015, according to state records. These crashes resulted in more than 39,000 injuries and 214 fatalities.”
Traffic crashes are serious business. If you’ve been involved in one then you need an attorney that will take your case seriously. At the Law Offices of Gilbert and Smallman we’re available for consultations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit our victories page to see the excellent results we’ve had.