Mark Twain is credited with saying, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
The fact of the matter is, when speaking of motor vehicle accidents in the Tampa Bay area, the numbers are high, and the statistics are eye-opening. The facts and figures statisticians use to produce their scientifically accurate stats can come from quantitative evidence from various data collection sets.
Statistics are more than generalizations, and you can draw mathematical conclusions from accurate and reliable sources such as:
- Government agencies
- The insurance industry
- The medical community
- Safety coalitions
- Law enforcement agencies
- Business and industry
Statistics can help us see the bigger picture regarding the causes, consequences, and dangers of motor vehicle accidents. Statistics are a collection of relevant data that provide helpful information.
Whether we use facts, science, or statistics, the intelligent conclusion remains the same. Yes, Tampa is a dangerous place for motorists. Accidents are bound to happen, even to the safest driver.
After a motor vehicle collision, emotions run high. Victims of an accident may experience anger, fear, and frustration. The decisions made immediately following a motor vehicle will have an impact when it comes to filing an insurance claim.
Where Do Most Motor Vehicle Accidents Happen In Tampa?
“More than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.”—Federal Highway Administration
Every 20 minutes, throughout the nation, someone runs a red light in urban intersections—as a matter of fact (according to recent statistical data), 33 percent of drivers say they have done so in the past month. Tampa is no exception when it comes to intersection accidents according to data collected and reported by Creative Loafing.
During a recent five-year time span, 4,099 accidents happened at these nine locations:
- U.S.92 and I-275
- SR 60 and Brandon Town Center Drive
- U.S.301 and Progress Boulevard
- SR 582 and 30th Street
- U.S.92 and Cherokee Avenue
- Dale Mabry Highway and Waters Avenue
- SR 574 and I-275
- SR 60 and Falkenburg Road
- I-275 and E. Busch Boulevard
Opinions vary, but the bottom line remains the same—serious accidents happen in Hillsborough County, all too frequently.
A citizens activist group, All For Transportation, recently announced their list of the 10 most dangerous intersections:
- Sheldon Road and Waters Avenue W
- Anderson Road and Waters Avenue W
- Waters Avenue W and Hanley Road
- Hillsborough Avenue and Sheldon Road
- U.S.301 and Gibsonton Drive
- Waters Avenue W and Himes Ave N
- U.S. 301 and Big Bend Road,
- Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fletcher Ave E
- Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road
- Bloomingdale Avenue and Providence Road
The bottom line is, it does not matter whose list we report. Tampa is dangerous for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike.
The Causes Of Motor Vehicle Accidents In Tampa
Statistics provided by one of the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Surveys assign 94 percent of the blame for accidents on the driver, 2 percent to vehicle failure, and 2 percent to environmental issues. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area includes not only Hillsborough and Pinellas County, but also Hernando and Pasco Counties. There are many factors resulting in automotive crashes in the Tampa Bay area.
The most common causes of motor vehicle accidents in this statistical area include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Disregard for traffic laws
- Environmental conditions
What the numbers reveal
About speeding—64 percent of drivers report they are comfortable speeding. About 50.3 percent admit to driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway. Just over 47 percent of drivers reported they drove 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit on a residential street. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tells us speeding triples the odds of an accident. At speeds of 50 mph or higher, drivers are at high risk (52 percent to 67 percent) of facial fractures and severe brain injury.
The statistics about fatigued driving are eye-opening (no pun intended)—driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol.
- Approximately one in 25 drivers 18 and older have fallen asleep within the last 30 days
- 25 percent of adults in America suffer from insufficient levels of sleep and rest each day
- Drowsy driving plays a part in 9.5 percent of all crashes
- 18 hours without sleep is similar to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 percent
The Insurance Information Institute shows statistical data about aggressive driving behaviors of motorists and motorcycle drivers resulting in a fatality.
For a recent calendar year, it shows:
- 17.2 percent of drivers were either driving above the posted speed limit, driving too fast for roadway conditions, or racing
- 10.1 percent were driving while impaired
- 6.5 percent failed to stay in the lane
Distracted driving and driving while impaired is negligent behavior. Persons harmed because of someone else’s negligence have a legal right to seek compensation for damages and medical costs. A car accident lawyer can provide valuable assistance to injured parties.
The most recent data released in the annual report of the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Division (for a single calendar year) shows:
- For Hernando County: 2,195 total crashes, 144 fatalities, 1,856 injuries
- For Hillsborough County: 24,168 total crashes, 213 fatalities, 16,450 injuries
- For Pasco County: 7,327 total crashes, 107 fatalities, 6,363 injuries
- For Pinellas County: 14,313 total crashes, 108 fatalities, 8412 injuries
It is hard to argue with the math. In 12 months, the Tampa area recorded 48,003 motor vehicle accidents. 33,081 drivers and passengers sustained injuries, and 572 of our friends and neighbors lost their lives. We do not hesitate to say that roadway safety is a major concern in the Tampa area.
Recent data from the Florida Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles agency (FLSHMV) tells us 569,182 drivers are involved in a year—this equates to 933 citizens every day.
Of the 24,168 motor vehicle crashes from Hillsborough County:
- The sheriff’s department
- investigated 33.79 percent The local police department
- investigated 38.21 percent
- The Florida Highway Patrol investigated 27.9 percent
State Specific Statistics
Florida is ranked tenth in the nation for states with the worst drivers. Tampa is among the top 10 cities in Florida for DUI motor vehicle crashes. SaferAmerica’s most recent statistics are thought-provoking. The two million-plus driving citations issued in Florida is almost a 7 percent increase over the previous year.
- 37,310 citations for driving under the influence
- 5,598 citations for reckless driving
- 12,935 citations for leaving the scene of an accident
- 547,755 citations for speeding in a posted zone
- 51,763 citations for failure to yield the right of way
- 34,988 citations for running a red light
- Only 73.30 percent of drivers in Florida carry auto insurance
Proving negligence, especially in a no-fault state like Florida, requires legal acumen. Victims and their families may well be leaving deserved compensation on the table by trying to navigate the complexities of personal injury law on their own.
A car accident attorney can procure and evaluate important evidence such as:
- Accident and police reports
- Surveillance videos
- Witness statements
- Medical records
Related Costs Of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Data from the Centers for Disease Control reveal auto accidents in Florida result in $46 million in medical costs and $4.35 billion in work-loss costs in a single year.
Broken down by the types of road users, these figures follow:
- 56 percent (or $2.46 billion) are motor vehicle occupants
- 21 percent (or $904 million) are motorcyclists
- 20 percent (or $864 million) are pedestrians
- 4 percent (or $165 million) are bicyclists
And by age groups:
- 47 percent for those between the ages 20 to 34 ($2.07 billion)
- 38 percent for those between the ages 35 to 64 ($1.68 billion)
- 8 percent for those between the ages of 15 to 19 ($373 million)
- 3 percent for those between the ages 0 to 14 ($123 million)
- 3 percent for those older than 65 ($147 million)
Medical care is expensive. A recent article in the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports Florida has some of the highest healthcare costs in the country. In addition to emergency treatment for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, additional financial costs may include surgical expenses, prescription, and over-the-counter medications, rehabilitative therapy costs, psychological counseling, and the need for medical equipment and assistive devices.
A Florida agency for health care administration has an interactive website called FloridaHealthPriceFinder allowing interested persons to research the average state costs for health care, providing data and statistics for specific ailments and/or symptoms. For example, using this site one can find the average cost of a lumbar laminectomy (surgery to remove part of one or more lumbar vertebrae) is $72,177.
This does not include any hospital charges, but does include:
- A pre-surgical visit with the orthopedic surgeon
- Nine physical therapy sessions
- A follow-up exam
Injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents account for over 2million emergency room visits a year.
Florida is the most expensive state for emergency room visits. Moderate-severity ER patients are billed an average of $3,102 before insurance.
The cost of lost wages is accident victim-specific, but the insurance industry tracks the average cost associated with property damage. Even in a minor accident, or a fender bender, repair costs can add up quickly depending on the make and model year of the damaged vehicle,
According to Consumer Insurance Reports, just replacing a car bumper can cost up to $2000. Attempting to resolve a car accident claim without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer can be a financially devastating mistake,
Technology Can Be Dangerous
Almost 70 percent of adults in America say that they want new technology in their vehicle, and one in three are currently using voiced-based and touch screen technology. Although designed for convenience, academic research shows the new “infotainment” systems are dangerous.
A study of 30 different vehicles monitored a driver’s attention levels while using the built-in technology for voice command functions such as text messaging, phone calls, and radio functions. Every model car tested failed when it came to showing a low level of driver attention—23 of the 30 showed a very high, or high need for attention, while only 7 showed a moderate amount.
Despite Florida’s safe driving initiatives and support from the insurance industry, the fact remains—high-risk behaviors by motorists cause property damage and physical injury every day.
Stats from Driver Knowledge give us pause:
- One in seven drivers do not wear a seat belt and
- 40 percent of all American teens say that they were in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.
- Using a cell phone while driving reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent
Driving Is Dangerous
The statistics are frightening when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Accident victims, as well as their entire families, can a lifetime of face physical, emotional, and financial damages. The experience, dedication, and determination of a car accident attorney can help. Attorneys fight for their client’s legal rights. Contact a car accident attorney today to get started.