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Florida Adopts Safe System Approach to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

A serious car accident in the middle of the road, with two heavily damaged vehicles and crash debris scattered.

Car accident fatalities have been rising in Florida.

In an effort to reduce the number of fatal car accidents in Florida, state officials plan to take a different, more proactive approach to reducing the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities, according to a recent WUSF news story about Florida's new Safe System Approach.

"The main thrust of this approach is that death or serious injury are unacceptable," the study says about efforts in Florida to reduce the dramatic increase in car accident fatalities statewide in recent years.

What is the Safe System Approach?

Pei-Sung Lin of The Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida explained to WUSF how the Safe System Approach works. In particular, the Safe System Approach is more proactive and focuses more on preventing accidents rather than reacting to accidents.

Specifically, the Safe System Approach has five parts that "must all work together," Lin explained. The five parts are:

  • Safe vehicles: This component emphasizes the importance of having vehicles equipped with advanced safety features and technologies. These features include collision avoidance systems, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and electronic stability control. The goal is to reduce the severity of injuries in the event of a crash by ensuring that vehicles are designed with safety in mind.
  • Safe speeds: Safe speeds are crucial to preventing accidents and reducing their severity. This aspect of the approach focuses on setting appropriate speed limits, implementing speed management measures, and encouraging drivers to adhere to speed limits. Slower speeds allow for better reaction time and reduce the likelihood of severe injuries in the event of a collision.
  • Safe roads: Safe road design and infrastructure play a significant role in accident prevention. This component involves creating roadways that are designed with safety in mind, including proper signage, road markings, and the implementation of traffic calming measures. Well-designed roads can reduce the likelihood of accidents and their severity.
  • Safe road users: Educating and promoting responsible behavior among road users is essential. This part of the approach emphasizes public awareness campaigns, driver education, and enforcement of traffic laws. Encouraging safe and responsible behavior among all road users is crucial to reducing accidents.
  • Post-crash care: Prompt and effective post-crash care is vital for minimizing the consequences of accidents. This involves having well-equipped and responsive emergency services, medical facilities, and rehabilitation programs in place. Timely medical attention and rehabilitation can significantly improve the outcomes for accident victims.

How will the new traffic safety approach work?

The Safe System Approach has effectively reduced fatal car accidents in Spain, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand, which all experienced a 50 percent reduction in fatal car accidents in the past 25 years, according to Lin in his interview with WUSF News.

Specific examples of how the Safe System Approach works include:

  • Building more traffic roundabouts in areas where speeding drivers have hit pedestrians or cyclists.
  • Installing more traffic signs that clearly explain what drivers should do on the road.
  • Better pavement markings, especially at crosswalks.
  • Designing cars to have automatic controls that prevent drivers from tailgating or engaging in other high-risk driving behaviors.
  • Automated walk signals at crosswalks.

How common are car accidents in Florida?

Car accident fatalities have been on the rise nearly every year since 2013, according to accident data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).

In particular, there has been a dramatic increase in the following types of fatal car accidents in Florida in the past decade:

  • Pedestrian fatalities – 71.2 percent increase between 2012 and 2021.
  • Bicycle fatalities – 58.8 percent increase during the same period.
  • Drunk driving fatalities – 43.7 percent increase.
  • Speeding fatalities – 6.8 percent increase.

Armando Personal Injury Law fights for crash victims

While we support any measures to make Florida's roads safer, reckless and negligent drivers still need to be held accountable when they cause crashes that result in severe or fatal injuries.

At Armando Personal Injury Law, our Tampa car accident lawyers take pride in helping crash victims find their way forward. We know how to find the facts that matter, build strong cases, and advocate for the justice and financial compensation our clients deserve.

To see how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our office is located on East 5th Avenue in Tampa, and we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no fees unless we secure a financial settlement or verdict for you.

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