Fatal crashes on the rise in Duval County
We're only a little more than a quarter of the way through 2021, and Duval County is already on pace to have more fatalities from motor vehicle crashes than last year.
According to preliminary data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there have been 55 deaths from crashes in Duval County as of April 2021. If deaths from crashes continue at this rate, 2021 will outpace 2020 in annual crash fatalities by about 17.5%.
What's even more troubling — the number of fatalities from crashes in Duval County has increased every year since 2018.
Recent crashes put the problem in focus
Our community is no stranger to tragedy when it comes to fatal car accidents.
Just last month, three people died and five others were injured in a heartbreaking head-on collision involving a pickup truck and an SUV that was described by witnesses as a "nightmare."
A few days before that, one person was killed and another injured in Jacksonville's Sans Souci area when the driver's vehicle left the roadway, crashed through a plastic fence, grazed a large tree, and flipped over on its side. While the driver escaped with non-life-threatening injuries, the passenger, identified as the driver's girlfriend, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Police officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said they believe speeding was a factor in that crash, which prompted a lieutenant from the traffic homicide unit to make a plea to Duval County drivers: "Slow down, pay attention."
“This is my first week in the traffic homicide unit, and I’ve been out here way too much," said Lt. Rich Buoye. "It’s ridiculous. I should not be coming out this much. And obviously, no one is doing this intentionally. This is just people speeding and not paying attention.”
Duval County heading in the wrong direction with crash fatalities
FLHSMV data reveals an unsettling truth, and it's that fatalities from crashes have risen steadily over the last few years in Duval County:
- 2018 -143 deaths from crashes
- 2019 - 158 deaths from crashes
- 2020 - 187 deaths from crashes
According to the numbers, there have been about 4,000 injuries from crashes in Duval County so far in 2021. Last year, there were 12,025 injuries reported in 2020, meaning we're on track to have roughly the same amount of injuries from crashes this year.
What drivers can do to be safe
No matter how safe a driver you are, all it takes is one poor decision by someone else to change your life forever.
While there are many forms of negligence that can contribute to a crash (e.g., drunk driving, distracted driving, texting while driving), speeding is the one dangerous driving habit that most people don't seem to take too seriously.
To prevent yourself from speeding the next time you get behind the wheel, follow these tips:
Keep focused — Don't let distractions steal your attention away from the road. If you're chatting on your cellphone, texting (which is illegal in most states, including Florida), or talking to a passenger, it's easy to lose track of how fast you're going and whether you need to adjust your speed for the driving conditions ahead.
Give yourself extra time — If you're running late for work, an appointment, or something else, you may end up trying to make up time by speeding. Always leave plenty of time to get to your destination, keeping in mind that there may be traffic, road construction, and other delays that can impact your commute.
Use cruise control — With cruise control, you can be sure that you won't go faster than the pre-set speed you set when activating the feature.
Stay calm — Drivers who are anxious, angry, or frustrated tend to have heavier feet than those who are relaxed while driving. Even if another driver causes you to lose your temper, take a deep breath and relax so you can stay focused on your driving.
Jacksonville counts on Pajcic & Pajcic
If you were injured or a family member died in a crash due to negligence, a car accident lawyer can help you hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
At Pajcic & Pajcic, our highly skilled attorneys have been standing up for crash victims since 1974.
Whether it's through a negotiated settlement or by way of a favorable court judgment, our dedicated legal team will help you pursue justice and fight for the compensation you're entitled to.
For instance, in one case our legal team secured a $5.25 million award for the family of a motorist who was killed by a speeding truck driver.
To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.