A 2020 report by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) finds Florida is one of the most dangerous states to drive in. Over 3,000 people died on its roads during 2018. The report suggests that state authorities need to tighten their traffic laws.
How much do vehicle crashes cost Florida each year?
The study puts the annual cost to Florida of vehicle crashes at $10,750 million. That includes property damage, medical bills and lost productivity. Only four states have a higher annual cost. The highest is California at $19,998 million. The lowest is Vermont, at $538 million. In 10 states, the cost is less than $1,000 million per year. Florida has plenty of room for improvement.
How could Florida make its roads safer?
The research looks at what safety laws exist in which states. It considers there are 16 laws that all states should have. Florida only has six of these laws. Only six states have fewer. The AHAS recommends Florida implements 10 additional rules to increase road safety.
Seat belts and child seats save lives
Currently, only front passengers need to wear belts. The report suggests adding the following laws:
- Rear passengers must use seat belts.
- Children under 8 years old who are also shorter than 57 inches need to use a booster seat.
- Children under 2 years old must travel in the rear in a backward-facing child seat.
Seat belts and child seats cannot prevent vehicle crashes. They can reduce the consequences.
Increasing restrictions on young drivers could increase safety
Florida places far fewer restrictions on younger drivers than many others states. Here are the extra rules the study recommends:
- The age you can get a learner permit increases to 16 years old.
- The age for an unrestricted license increases to 18 years old.
- Ban teens from using their phones while behind the wheel.
- Place restrictions on teens when driving at night.
- Limit the number of passengers teens can take limited without an adult being present.
The other two laws that AHAS recommends are to make helmets obligatory for anyone on a motorcycle and ignition interlock devices standard for all convicted of drunk driving.
Many Floridians object to further legislation. Yet as the study shows, freedom can come at a high cost.