7 May. 2013

Tampa Traffic Fatalities Soar

Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez

Along with the rest of the nation, Tampa has recently seen a disturbing increase in fatal car crashes. This spike is particularly troubling considering Florida’s improvements in previous years. Until 2012 when fatalities rose five percent, the entire nation experienced a seven-year decline in death rates, reaching record lows.

For Tampa, many speculated that Florida’s expanded seat belt laws were responsible for reducing the danger of accidents. But now what? Governor Rick Scott has enlisted highway safety leaders to investigate what’s causing this frightening rise. Along with aggressive driving, which causes over half of traffic fatalities, distracted driving is the leading suspect, especially with the increased use of electronic devices. Sure, you’ve heard the warning countless times—about multitasking and texting while driving—but there is a reason for all the caution. Though specific data is currently limited, we do know that in 2010, over 3,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes related to this issue.

This past Thursday, Florida legislators finally banned texting while driving after a long push to address the problem. The hope is that this new law will help reduce preventable fatalities on the road and keep the Tampa community safer. While many believe they can rely on the increased safety of cars, our driving habits will continue to put us at risk. At Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, we want you to have access to all the info you need to protect you and your loved ones.

Here are some quick tips for road safety:

1. ALWAYS wear your seat-belt.

Whether you’re traveling around the corner or across the state, this is the easiest way to protect yourself—and it’s the law. An unbelievable 70% of fatal car crash victims ages 13-15 weren’t wearing seat belts.

2. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

Give the driver in front of you enough time to react, even suddenly. You can practice the three-second-rule if you have trouble figuring out the appropriate distance.

3. Drive defensively, not aggressively.

Expect the unexpected. Predict unsafe driving by those around you. On the road, you can’t rely on other drivers’ abilities, so be ready for anything—turning without a signal, swerving, tailgating, etc. And don’t just focus on the car in front of you.

4. Avoid distractions.

That means anything from eating and drinking to texting and talking on the phone. Multitasking takes your attention away from the road. And when it comes to texting, do not text a friend or family member when you know they are driving on the road. Many car crashes involving texting occur when the driver is reading a text.

5. Take care of your car.

These simple things make a big difference. Make sure everything is running properly, all windows and mirrors are clean, and that your car has enough gas. And always periodically check your tire pressure to make sure they have the correct amount of PSI at all times.

Don’t underestimate the obvious. Apply these simple tips to keep you and your family safer on Tampa’s roadways. If you or someone you know is ever injured in an auto-related accident, please call Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez for a complimentary consultation.

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