In Response to Speed-Related Rise in Traffic Fatalities, FHP Runs Joint Program with NHTSA
July 29, 2022
The Florida Department of Transportation and state and local law enforcement recently participated in a regional program aimed at helping reduce incidents of speeding.
Florida Law Enforcement Working with Neighboring States and Federal Government on “Operation Southern Slow Down”
FDOT, the Florida Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the state recently took part in “Operation Southern Slow Down,” a weeklong program that occurred from July 18th through 23rd. The campaign is a joint effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and state and local law enforcement agencies in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The campaign, which occurs annually, was begun in 2017 as “Operation Southern Shield,” after the NHTSA noticed a worrying increase in the rates of traffic fatalities in the southeast and across the country.
As part of the operation, Florida Highway Patrol troopers and local police officers are targeting drivers on major interstates and state highways in Florida, including I-95, I-75, and I-10, who are driving much faster than posted speed limits. Law enforcement is also looking to enforce Florida’s mandatory seat belt law during the week.
Driver Speeds and Traffic Fatalities Have Increased in Recent Years
While traffic fatality rates have been increasing since the mid-2010s, rates have spiked in the past couple of years, largely due to a change in driving behaviors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the early months of the pandemic, lockdowns effectively emptied highways as many people no longer needed to drive to work or for travel. Drivers who were on the road were able to drive even faster by having an empty highway with no traffic to slow them down. However, as motorists returned to the roads in the latter half of 2020 and into 2021, auto accident fatality rates saw a significant increase as drivers failed to moderate their speeds in response to increased traffic. In fact, vehicle miles traveled in 2021 went up by 11.2 percent compared to 2020.
According to the NHTSA, 2021 saw the largest number of traffic fatalities nationwide since 2005. Fatality rates increased in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Traffic fatalities went up by 10.5 percent from 2020. Fatalities in multi-vehicle accidents and accidents on urban roads also went up by 16 percent year-over-year.
Federal Government Adopting National Roadway Safety Strategy
In May 2022, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave a speech calling the increase in road fatalities “a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together.” Secretary Buttigieg cited USDOT’s previously announced National Roadway Safety Strategy as part of the agency’s efforts to curb traffic fatalities. The strategy represents USDOT’s comprehensive approach to reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities from road accidents, with a long-term goal of ultimately reaching zero roadway fatalities. The National Roadway Safety Strategy also works in conjunction with the recently-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes grant programs that will provide billions in funding for local projects aimed at reducing traffic accidents and fatalities.
Contact a Lake Worth Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Auto Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an auto accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. represent clients injured because of auto accidents in Miramar, Coral Springs, Davie, Boca Raton, and throughout Florida. Call (561) 533-0345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 813 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460, as well as offices in Pompano Beach.
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