Traffic Fatalities Down in 2008


The data available from the Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 2008 was a record low year for fatal accidents. Nationally, the numbers haven’t been this low since 1961. The first three months of 2009 are continuing this downward trend. 2008 is a 9.7 percent drop from 2007, though motorcycle fatalities continue to rise and now account for 14 percent of all highway traffic fatalities.

This news is encouraging, but Florida and the rest of the nation have a long way to go to bring the waste, pain, and fatalities of our highways to a minimum. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s  Center for Statistics and Analysis, if the seat belt use had been 90% in 2007, which is over 10 percent of the actual number, another 184 people would have survived their automobile accident. The number of non-fatal injuries that would have been prevented is 4,511. Out of all fifty states, Florida stands to save the most money due to the associated cost of accidents, an estimated $605,472,000.

This means that 2009 and 2010 are going to be very interesting for safety experts and policy-makers. As of July 30th, Florida’s Primary Seat Belt Law has gone into effect. Previously, not wearing a seat belt was worthy of a traffic citation if a driver was pulled over for another moving violation. Now, law enforcers may pull over drivers specifically for not wearing their seat belts. For adults, the fine is $93. If a child is not properly restrained in its seat, the fine is $143. It is expected that Florida’s seat belt rates will rise approximately 13%, as studies  have shown in other states that have enacted primary seat belt laws.

Michael E. Seelie, PA has represented people in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding communities of Orange Park, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Callahan, Palatka, Fernandina Beach, Gainesville, and Lake City in vehicle and auto cases since 1978.