Last week our Miami personal injury blog began discussing the cost of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Florida. According to federal reports, Florida has the third highest cost for fatal collisions compared to other states across the nation.
In addition to the financial costs of a car accident, an accident victim may suffer long-term injuries and family members may lose their loved ones. These financial, physical and emotional costs are concerning and have some questioning: Should Florida be doing more to help prevent fatalities from motor vehicle accidents?
In the past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered several solutions to reducing the costs of fatal collisions by suggesting that Florida implement several other traffic laws aimed at increasing the safety of motorists. So far Florida has only chosen to adopt the primary seat belt law which requires all drivers to wear a safety belt.
The Florida Pediatric Society estimates that a booster seat requirement could result in 800 fewer emergency room visits each year. The CDC suggests that children as old 7 should be using booster seats or cars seats when traveling in vehicles in order to ensure that each child is in a seat that is appropriate for his or her age and size. However, Florida law only requires children under the age of 3 to be placed in a car seat or booster seat. Florida is one of three states left that has yet to adopt the CDC’s recommendations.
Although the CDC has also provided evidence suggesting that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can save one’s life, Florida has chosen to reject implementing a law that would require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. In 2000, Florida’s governor argued that a motorcycle helmet law would only violate an individual’s “personal freedom.”
In acknowledgment of a teen driver’s inexperience behind the wheel, the CDC suggests that teen drivers should gradually gain full driving privileges even after they have obtained a driver’s license. Currently, a young driver can obtain a driver’s license after holding a learners permit for at least one year in Florida. However, the CDC suggests that even though a teen may have his or her driver’s license, the teen should not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle during the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The CDC also recommends not allowing teens to drive with a passenger in the vehicle unless an adult is present.
The CDC believes that these recommendations could increase the safety of all motorists on the road. However, it is up to Florida to implement or reject these suggestions.
Source:Sun Sentinel: “Florida third in U.S. in costs from fatal car crashes, CDC says,” Sonja Isger, 21 May 2011