Florida Traffic Fatalities Fall to a Record Low

October 4, 2010

Florida’s crash fatality rate dropped last year to the lowest rate on record. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides details on that statistic and much more in its Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2009. The report summarizes data that state and local law enforcement agencies submit to DHSMV.

“The report shows that we are moving toward the Department’s vision of a safer Florida,” said DHSMV Executive Director Julie L. Jones. “While multiple factors influence the numbers, the declining trends are a testament to the emphasis that law enforcement agencies, safety advocates and businesses have placed on saving lives on our roadways. DHSMV will continue to work with our safety partners to add to the momentum we have gained in recent years so that we continue to see crashes, deaths and injuries decline in years to come.”

Some positive trends the report highlights include:

  • Crash-related fatalities on Florida roadways decreased 14 percent between 2008 and 2009, from 2, 983 to 2, 563. This is the fourth consecutive year that traffic fatalities have decreased.
  • The number of deaths per 100 million miles traveled dropped to 1.3 last year – the lowest the state has ever reported. As a note of comparison, the rate was 5.8 deaths per 100 million miles 40 years ago.
  • Alcohol-related traffic fatalities fell by 14 percent between 2008 and 2009 from 1,169 to 1,004.
  • Motorcycle fatalities (drivers and passengers) dove 24 percent between 2008 and 2009 from 532 to 402.
  • Bicyclist and passenger fatalities decreased 15 percent between 2008 and 2009 from 118 to 100.
  • Pedestrian fatalities decreased four percent between 2008 and 2009 from 502 to 482.
  • Fatalities of teen drivers and passengers, ages 15-19, fell significantly by more than 20 percent between 2008 and 2009 from 193 to 153. Teen drivers continue to over represent in terms of crash frequency, posting the highest rate of crash involvement of any age cohort at 381 per 10,000 licensed drivers.

A complete copy of the Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2009 is available at www.flhsmv.gov/html/safety.html under Traffic Crash Facts. The website also provides the report from previous years.

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Sen. Barker thwarted again on driver-book issue

March 29, 2010

Originally posted by Steve Bousquet on March 23, 2010.

Sen. Carey Baker took a pounding for the second time Tuesday as he pushed legislation critics say could extend a controversial deal that allows Ponte Vedra Beach businessman Ken Underwood to print Florida’s Official Driver Safety Handbook (background on this issue here).

Baker rewrote his bill (SB 2342) in an effort to make it more palatable. But it was so obvious he didn’t have the votes that the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee postponed a vote for the second meeting in a row.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has cancelled Underwood’s contract after five years, and agency director Julie Jones, who inherited the Underwood deal, was direct in her testimony: “We need to overcome the perception of an endorsement of one cmpany.”

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, set the tone on a skeptical committee, saying: “It appears to me that this bill is about massaging a current contract.” Baker insisted his goal was to save tax dollars, noting that his amended version requires the highway safety agency to seek competing proposals. (The agency said it doesn’t need legislation to do that).


Tips to Parents of New Drivers

December 7, 2009

Reality – You can not control all of the conditions you new driver will face, but you can set standards and expectations that will limit the risks.

  1. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
  2. Invest in driver training from a reputable organization
  3. Commit to a practice schedule
  4. Keep your cool during practice sessions
  5. Introduce privileges gradually
  6. Plan ahead for challenges. A parent-teen driving contrace is a good line of defense.
  7. Take a refresh course yourself.
  8. Discuss who will pay for: gas, insurance, and repairs.

Top Ten Risky Behaviors of Teen Drivers

December 7, 2009
  1. Bad habits. New drivers pick up good and bad habits from parents.
  2. Following Too Closely
  3. Speeding
  4. Not using safety belts
  5. Driving While Impaired
  6. Overloading a vehicle with too many passengers
  7. Driving While Distracted
  8. Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
  9. Poor Scanning
  10. Poor Distance Judgement

Buckle Up!

June 10, 2009

Traffic fatalities continue to increase in our local area. On Tuesday night, a single car crash resulted in the death of one person and serious injury to his three passengers. The crash happened on Beal Parkway in Ft. Walton Beach. The vehicle was torn in two pieces from the crash. The driver was 20 and the passengers were 24, 19, and 18. NONE were wearing a seatbelt. Please buckle up every time even in the backseat, know who you are riding with, and ensure they are a safe driver.

Bonnie Rushton, Driving Schools Program Director


Give Driving 100% of You Attention

June 5, 2009

Since Thursday afternoon, four vehicle crash incidents have occurred in our area resulting in the death of three people and severe injury to others. This morning, rescue crews responded to a one vehicle crash on Interstate 10 that had a vehicle on fire and a fatality from the person being ejected from the vehicle. In Freeport on Thursday afternoon, a family of 4 was traveling in their car on Highway 331 when another car turned into their path. It hit their car and veered their vehicle into the path of a dump truck, resulting in the mother’s death who was a passenger. The father and children were taken to the hospital. Also on Thursday afternoon on the Escambia Bay Bridge, a crash involving an 18-wheeler that caught on fire resulted in one person taken to a hospital. Lastly, and most tragic of all because it was 100% preventable included a driver looking at the 18-wheeler crash instead of focusing on his driving and failing to notice two vehicles stopped in front of his. He caused a chain reaction of three vehicles being involved in a crash. A passenger in the second vehicle died and the driver was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Neither the driver nor the passenger were wearing seatbelts. Please give driving your 100% attention and focus. It is a matter of life and death.

Bonnie Rushton, Driving Schools Program Director


Weekend Traffic Crashes

June 5, 2009

It was another active weekend for traffic crashes and injuries for our area. In Ft. Walton Beach, a driver drove through neighborhood yards and injured a juvenile with flying debris. In Walton County, a driver was charged with careless driving and leaving the scene of a crash with injuries. This driver hit two parked cars. One of the cars was occupied. In Destin, a young woman was hit by a car in front of Big Kahunas. Sadly, all three incidents resulted in injuries and only one vehicle was in motion at the time of the incidents. One driver in one vehicle can be a dangerous weapon.

Bonnie Rushton, Driving Schools Program Director