And now for the good news: the number of annual traffic fatalities in the United States has decreased since 1990 according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Yet Florida in general and Broward County in particular continues to rank amongst the most dangerous states in America.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles keeps track of crashes and fatalities per Florida county. According to the FDHSMV County Crash and Fatality Rates, in 2009, 260 people died in Miami-Dade, making it the most dangerous county in Florida. An alarming, 74 of those who died in Miami car accidents were alcohol related compared to 58 in neighboring Broward County and 62 in Palm Beach County.

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Since 2009 the number of people who die in Florida car, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian crashes continues to decrease. Most likely this has been influenced by economic conditions that have forced many to drive less frequently due to unemployment and the cost of fuel. Another factor is the increased safety of cars and trucks, the emphasis on wearing seat-belts.

The statistics clearly support that Florida’s seat-belt laws can and do save lives. When drivers and passengers wear seat belts the number and severity of injuries is greatly diminished. In 2010 there were over 67,000 reported accidents. In Florida only 8.45% of belted drivers died compared to 17.48% of unrestrained drivers. The same is true of passengers where 49 belted passengers died compared to 142 unrestrained passengers.

Florida’s seat belt law is clear: all front seat passengers must wear seat belts. Passengers 18 and under must be either restrained by a belt or in a child car seat. The law applies to all cars, pickup trucks, and vans operated on Florida roads. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that the passengers comply with the law.

Why is driving in South Florida so dangerous? It might be the number of tourists and those who have recently relocated from countries that have “less sophisticated” drivers. It might have something to do with the number of senior citizens with impaired vision, hearing and reflexes. I believe it is the combination of all these factors that make South Florida a very dangerous place to drive.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident injury law firm is committed to keeping Florida’s drivers safe and alive. We recommend the following safety tips to avoid being injured or killed in a car wreck:

1. Always wear a seat belt.

2. Stay off of cellphones.

3. Save texting for later.

4. Do not eat or drink while driving.

5. Do not smoke while driving.

6. Under no circumstances should you ever drink and drive.

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