In 2012, government agencies set a goal of reducing deaths from Florida car accidents by 5 percent per year. That effort has now officially crashed.
According to preliminary numbers from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 2,939 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2015, a 17.8 percent rise over the 2014 total of 2,494.
Not only did highway deaths increase over last year, but the state failed to meet its projected decrease for the third year in a row. In 2012, Florida began its safety initiative with a baseline of 2,431 traffic fatalities, an average of the totals from 2006 to 2010. In 2013, the state had 100 more traffic fatalities than the 5 percent reduction projected, and in 2014 the total was 300 deaths over the reduction goal.
In 2015, if the 5 percent per year projection had held true, there would have been 2,084 deaths on Florida’s roads, but there were 855 more than that, so the state missed its goal by more than 40 percent.
It was no year-end surprise that traffic fatalities in Florida have been accelerating in the wrong direction. Last summer, the National Safety Council conducted an analysis that showed that there was a 29 percent increase in highway deaths in Florida, and a 14 percent increase nationally, in the first half of 2015, compared to the same six-month period in 2014.
Safety experts lay the blame on poorly-designed roads, a lack of focus on traffic safety on the part of state officials, and driver negligence.