Imagine you are driving down the road as you have so many times before. You've always been a healthy person your entire life -- but on this day, you suddenly feel pain in your chest. You hope that the sensation goes away, but it only gets worse as time goes on. Within moments, you are unable to operate your vehicle safely and you get into an accident. The medical emergency you suffered directly contributed to this wreck.
It seems as though you should be able to count on car accidents going down every year. With car technology improving and safety improvements always being developed, you would think that accidents and deaths on the road would continue a downward trend. Maybe they never reach zero, but they should always decline. Add in the fact that self-driving cars are starting to get into the mix, and we should be experiencing a road safety revolution.
Car accidents of all shapes and size occur everyday in the United States. Many of these wrecks are minor in nature. The bumpers of two vehicles meet at a low speed, and the passengers and drivers inside are not injured. Minor damage to the vehicles occurs, and insurance companies get involved. Little else comes of the collision, even though it is a hassle to deal with.
Car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. People can become distracted by their phone or by people in their car, losing focus on the road ahead of them. They can fall asleep or become tired due to a lack of rest. And, unfortunately, they may choose to partake in some incredibly negligent behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Florida's Integrated Report Exchange System (or FIRES) has some motor vehicle accident data on the 2016 year. According to FIRES, there were 395,607 total motor vehicle accidents in the state of Florida in 2016. In these accidents, more than 250,000 injuries were suffered by the victims. There were also 3,183 deaths in motor vehicle accidents in the state of Florida in 2016.
Car accidents can involve many different subjects. Other cars, and their occupants, are the obvious subject that many people will first consider. But they can also collide with trucks, and motorcycles, and even buildings. Today, we want to focus on two very at-risk groups out on the road: bicyclists and pedestrians.
There are a lot of car accidents that happen every day. Many of these accidents are extremely minor in nature. Two bumpers collide, and little damage is done to the vehicles. The people involved suffer no injuries. They exchange information and go on their way. However, there are some car accidents that happen every day that cause serious damage to the vehicles involved and, more importantly, they cause serious, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries to the people in the vehicles.
In our last post, we talked about the texting while driving law here in Florida and the lack of a substantial effect that this law has had on the driving population. Since texting while driving is considered a secondary offense in the state of Florida, it means officers can't pull you over for the particular offense. You have to commit another, primary offense first -- and then the police officer can add on the texting while driving offense to the original infraction.
Florida has had an ongoing problem with it's texting while driving laws: namely, that they don't do much. In 2013, our state passed its very first version of a texting while driving ban. But the law lacks any teeth. it makes texting while driving a secondary offense, which means that a police officer can't pull someone over solely for texting while driving. They have to commit some other offense first, and then the police officer can tack on a texting while driving charge on top of the original offense.