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Rising number of Florida auto accidents in January causes concern

The roads in Florida can be a dangerous place. Because of that, governmental and law enforcement entities are actively seeking ways to encourage safety. This is especially necessary given the number of people who were killed in accidents in the state from the first week in January of the new year through the beginning of the final week of the month. During that time, there were nine fatalities with four pedestrians among their number. This made it the worst January in more than 12 years. There were notable similarities in these accidents, with all being in unincorporated areas and all taking place at night.

The state highway patrol is trying to determine why there has been this increase. Statistically, there is a disparity between the number of people on the road at night compared to the daytime and the number of fatalities. Half of all fatal accidents happen after dark while two-thirds of drivers are on the road during the day. Drivers operate their vehicles in the same manner as they do during the day, but are not able to recognize dangerous situations as fast. Their reactions will not be as good. A lack of light is also considered to be an issue.

Law enforcement advises drivers to operate their vehicles at reduced speeds when going through areas that are poorly lighted, particularly when they are in unfamiliar areas. Distracted drivers are also a concern. Pedestrians are advised to keep a watch for vehicles, wear clothing that is reflective, and assume that drivers are not able to see them. Previous years in which there were a large number of fatal accidents were 2007, 2008 and 2010. Four of the fatalities in 2007 were in Ocala. In January 2010, there were 10 fatal accidents in Marion County.

There was an attempt on the part of regulatory agencies to promote safety after 2003 with the STEER (Safety Through Education, Enforcement and Responsibility) program. As time passed, the focus on these programs eased off, but with the rise in deaths, they are trying to bring STEER back. The number of auto accidents that have occurred in the first month of the new year is worrisome for everyone. Catastrophic injuries and death can lead to long-term problems for the injured party and the family. Having an idea as to how and why they happen as well as taking steps to reduce their incidence is important, but that does not help those who have already been hurt. For those who were injured or lost loved ones in car accidents, a legal professional may be able to help in pursuing compensation.

Source:, "Traffic fatalities rank month among deadliest Januarys," Austin L. Miller, Jan. 24, 2017

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