Car accidents are an everyday occurrence on roads across Florida. Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of crashes statewide, which translates to more than 100 crashes every single day. With the number of car accidents in Florida each year, we can see some trends start to emerge—and studying these trends can be helpful when it comes to assessing the possible causes of a serious or fatal collision.
Familiarizing yourself with these trends can also help reduce your risk of being seriously injured in a car accident. For example, as we discuss below, speeding and distracted driving are among the leading causes of car accidents in Florida and throughout the United States. So, by slowing down, putting down your phone, and avoiding other drivers who are speeding or who appear to be distracted, you can significantly improve your chances of safely arriving at your destination.
Here are six notable car accident trends for 2022:
Trend #1: Car Accidents in Florida are Down Slightly So Far in 2022
In a bit of good news, car accidents in Florida are down slightly so far in 2022. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 401,127 car accidents statewide in 2021. Through the first half of June 2022, there have been 174,480 car accidents statewide, or 43 percent of last year’s total. If we were on pace to eclipse last year’s total, this would be closer to 46 percent. While three percentage points might not seem like much, this is a difference of more than 10,000 car accidents.
Injury-involved car accidents are also down so far in 2022. As of mid-June, the FLHSMV reports that we were at approximately 44 percent of the total number of injury-involved car accidents in 2021. Again, while this isn’t a major difference in terms of the percentage, it still equates to thousands of people who haven’t been injured in car accidents this year.
Trend #2: Automated Driving Technology Isn’t As Safe As Manufacturers (and Regulators) Would Like
While federal regulators have approved the limited use of automated driving technology, so far in 2002, this technology is not as safe as regulators or vehicle manufacturers would like. In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that from July 1, 2021 through May 15, 2022, there were 392 reported car accidents involving automated driving technology, resulting in six deaths and five serious injuries. Tesla’s Autopilot was the biggest culprit, accounting for 273 accidents and five of the six automated driving technology fatalities during the study period.
According to NPR, the NHTSA has already used these data “to seek a recall, open investigations and provide information for existing inquiries.” In other words, things are not going to plan. Even so, we don’t anticipate self-driving technologies going away—in fact we expect to continue to see more vehicles equipped with this technology through the end of 2022 and beyond.
Trend #3: Young and Elderly Drivers Account for a Disproportionate Number of Accidents
While not necessarily a new statistics, data from 2022 confirm that teen drivers continue to account for a disproportionate number of serious and fatal car accidents. The same is true of elderly drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “[t]een drivers have crash rates nearly 4 times those of drivers 20 and older per mile driven.” The IIHS also reports that, “Drivers age 70 and older have higher fatal crash rates per mile traveled than middle-aged drivers,” and “[t]he number of drivers age 70 and older is growing.”
Trend #4: Distracted Driving Remains a Major Concern in 2022 Despite Legislation
Distracted driving remains a major concern in 2022. According to recent data from the FLHSMV, there were more than 56,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida last year, and the FLHSMV expects this number to continue to rise. This is true despite the fact that the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law made it a primary offense to text behind the wheel in 2019.
While texting remains the primary cause of distracted driving accidents, accidents involving in-car technology distractions are on the rise. These days, it seems like just about every new car has a touch screen; and, while this might be a desirable feature, it is a distracting feature as well.
Trend #5: Despite New Vehicle Safety Technology, Fatal Car Accidents Are On the Rise
Advancements in vehicle safety technology are supposed to reduce the number of fatal car accidents. Yet, the IIHS’s data suggest that fatal car accidents are on the rise.
Why is this the case? One possible, if not likely, explanation is that there are more cars on the roads—and this translates to more fatal car accidents. While cars may be getting safer, our roads aren’t, and the increase in dangerous drivers on the road is outpacing improvements in vehicle safety technology.
Trend #6: Speeding is the Single Most Common Factor in Fatal Car Accidents
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), speeding is a factor in nearly 30 percent of all fatal car accidents. This makes speed the single most common factor resulting in motor vehicle accident deaths. Unfortunately, while most people are well aware of the dangers of speeding, it is clear that far too many people think they are better drivers than they actually are.
Even if a speed-involved car accident does not result in death, the increased forces involved increase the risk of severe traumatic injuries. As a result, drivers and passengers injured in these accidents will often face substantial losses, and they will face a long and difficult road to recover.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Tallahassee, Tampa or West Palm Beach
With offices in Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Tallahassee, we represent car accident victims and their families statewide. If you need to speak with a car accident lawyer about your legal rights in Florida, you can call 800-780-8607 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.