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Speeding Florida Drivers Are an Unexpected Pandemic Risk

Excessive Speed Is Just One Factor Increasing the Danger of Serious, Even Fatal, Car Accidents

At the urging of our leaders, Florida life has become centered around the home as late.  Many companies (including ours) have switched to remote operations; others have closed temporarily.  Schools are shut and even many beaches are no-go zones.  All this has been part of a joint effort to keep patients with COVID-19 from overwhelming hospital emergency rooms and undersupplied healthcare employees.  Yet, at least one group has adopted new behaviors that may be increasing the number of emergency room patients during this time.  Florida drivers, perhaps tempted by open roads, have been speeding at unprecedented levels.

Police Report Excessive Speeders

This trend of more drivers breaking the speed limits isn’t limited to Florida.  Law enforcement officers across the nation have reported drivers traveling at shocking speeds now that they’re not constrained by traffic.  Starting in April, the Florida Highway Patrol noticed they were issuing many more speeding tickets than normal, and for much higher violations. 

Drivers have been caught going 40 mph or more above the speed limit, many breaking 100 mph on the state’s highways, interstates, and turnpikes.  Traveling at such speeds, drivers have no time to react to unexpected hazards—and others on the road may not even see them coming.  More than one fatal accident has been caused by a speeding driver simply losing control of their car.  Such a trend would be worrisome at any time.  During the pandemic, when first responders and other healthcare resources are stretched thin, it’s of special concern. 

The Role Played by Driver Distraction

It’s possible speed isn’t the only heightened road hazard during this upheaval.  All of us know we shouldn’t be texting and driving, but of late, our phones have become even more essential.  As we stay inside and isolate ourselves from others, they have become the tool that keeps us in touch with the outside world.  With news alerts feeding us constant updates and loved ones sending messages and tagging us on social media, it can be hard to resist the temptation to read each new notification as it pops up. 

Stresses unique to the pandemic may also be increasing distraction.  From health worries to financial woes to feeling overwhelmed by everything, many of us are having trouble managing our focus of late.  Mental distraction can be just as dangerous as taking your eyes off the road while driving.  Needless to say, the combination of increased distraction and excessive speeding can result in serious car accidents. 

Pedestrian & Bicycle Traffic Has Increased

An analysis of pandemic traffic performed by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has found that more people are going out on foot and riding bikes nationwide.  As we’ve been asked to limit our unnecessary travel, make fewer trips to fewer establishments, and spend most of our day inside, many have chosen to exercise at the same time they’re running errands.  Walking and biking are as good a way as any to enjoy the beautiful weather, get your blood flowing, and escape from the confines of your home.

These people may be especially at risk due to speeding drivers.  Vehicle speed is an important factor in the severity of a pedestrian accident.  It’s also a factor in whether an accident happens at all.  Pedestrians and bikers are already at risk because they’re much harder to see than other cars.  The faster a driver is moving, the less time they have to see someone stepping out into the roadway or crossing the street in a bike lane.  Pedestrians and bikers also have less time to react upon seeing the danger.  With pedestrian fatalities already trending upward over the years, we are worried this irresponsible and risky behavior is likely to send more accident victims to already crowded emergency rooms.

Remember: Road Safety Is a Constant Practice

We understand why someone might be tempted to drive less carefully on empty roads, but all it takes is 1 other car, bike, or pedestrian to make distracted or otherwise negligent driving dangerous.  Especially with the stress everyone is under right now and the changes in our life routines, we recommend you be even more careful while on the road.  If you have been injured by a reckless driver, contact Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A. for a free consultation on your legal options.  We want to help you access the treatment you need after a bad car accident. 

Call us any time at (888) 499-6206 or reach out online to schedule your consultation.  We are currently offering our services via phone, email, and videoconferencing.