Car-accident numbers dropping, but not fast enough, in Tampa metro area

In December 2012, a three-car crash killed an 81-year-old man after one of the vehicles reportedly ran a red light in suburban St. Petersburg, Fla. Coincidentally, only a couple of days later another fatal three-car accident in neighboring Clearwater occurred under eerily similar circumstances. That auto accident apparently happened when the driver of a stolen car also entered an intersection on a red light, this time killing a 54-year-old male driver.

Unfortunately, accident injuries and fatalities happen all too often in the busy metropolitan area. The Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater metro is in the top 20 largest urban areas in the country with a population approaching 3 million people, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. A network of interstate highways and other well-traveled roads support traffic movement within and through this major Gulf Coast center of tourism and commerce.

In November 2012, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced the release of its 2011 Florida Traffic Crash Statistics Report that sheds light on both local and state-wide accident patterns.

The report shows a downward trend of 3.17 percent in the number of crashes across the state from 2010 to 2011. Interestingly, the local trend was the same. In the two major Tampa-area counties, the annual number of motor vehicle crashes has similarly gone down in the past five years:

  • Pinellas County had 13,228 accidents in 2007 and 10,882 in 2011.
  • Hillsborough County had 22,613 accidents in 2007 and 18,027 in 2011.

The number of those crashes in each of the two counties that were suspected to involve alcohol also decreased over the same time period.

Similarly, the five-year numbers also eased up in each of these two counties of total accident fatalities as well as of the number of those fatalities suspected to have been related to alcohol.

Despite some of the positive accident trends, unfortunately serious driving mishaps will continue to happen in the Sunshine State. As Julie L. Jones, the executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said in releasing the report, “Traffic crashes are largely avoidable, and those that result in personal injury or loss of life are too often the unacceptable result of poor preparation and decision making.”

If you or a loved one is hurt in a Florida traffic accident, be sure to consult a personal injury attorney with experience and skill in handling motor vehicle accident cases. A lawyer can advise you of your rights and potential legal remedies.

Crucially, legal counsel can investigate every angle of the accident and gather evidence on your behalf to determine who may be potentially liable. For example, another driver may have been reckless, negligent, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs; defective vehicular equipment could have contributed to the mishap; or the road may have unsafely designed or poorly maintained.