Determining the Ranking
In 2017, GPS company Teletrac Navman named Florida's Interstate 4 the most dangerous highway in America. Using fatal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company assessed which month, day, week, and time were more likely to have a surge in fatal accidents, as well as which harmful events led to most fatalities.
While many Florida interstates ranked high on the list, I-4 from Tampa to Daytona Beach surpassed all others. Despite being one of the shorter highways on the list at only 132 miles, it was one of the only to have more traffic fatalities than highway length - the ratio that determined its ranking. The study also found that Orlando was where most of these fatalities occurred.
What Makes It Dangerous?
Most used for its easy access to tourist attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, I-4 has been a big point of contention for motorists in the area due to the prolonged road work that began in 2015.
The so-called "I-4 Ultimate Project" extends for over 21 miles and directly aligns with the area that Teletrac Navman's report suggests is the most dangerous. While not expected to be completed until sometime this year, there is no clear idea of how many accidents have and can still directly result from this project.
What the report was able to determine, however, was which three events were most likely to happen prior to the fatality - motor vehicle in transport, overturns, and pedestrian accidents.
Motor Vehicle in Transport
According to their studies, the event that resulted in the most fatalities across the board was a vehicle in transport. This encompasses everything from stationary traffic, vehicles abandoned on the roadway, driverless cars in motion, and parked cars where parking is forbidden. In simpler terms, vehicles in transport account for most standard traffic collisions.
In Florida, common causes of car accidents are distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence. Despite the state implementing several laws and safety measures that may combat this, these dangers get amplified with the ongoing I-4 project.
Despite being fairly rare, overturns (more commonly referred to as rollovers) claim thousands of lives each year. In I-4 accidents, this is the second most common event that leads to fatalities.
While these are often single-vehicle crashes, the NHTSA notes that most rollovers are preventable. This is because driver behavior tends to be the most significant factor in these kinds of crashes.
These factors can play a large role in your likelihood of being in a rollover:
- Type of vehicle - the taller and narrower your car, the more likely it is to overturn.
- Speeding - over 40% of fatal overturns involve this action.
- Alcohol - nearly half of these fatalities involved alcohol.
Since I-4 has several family-friendly tourist areas, the use of SUVs, speeding to avoid lines, and consuming alcohol at the parks is not uncommon.
As a highway that goes across areas with such high volumes of foot traffic, the risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident is high. Florida is considered the most dangerous state for pedestrians, having eight cities place in the top ten for pedestrian fatalities over a ten-year span. Orlando and Daytona Beach were the top two, respectively.
More recent reports also note that Florida is one of five states - along with Arizona, California, Georgia, and Texas - accounting for nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities.
Considering that the rate of deaths per mile is 1.25 on interstate 4, significantly higher than others on the list, it’s safe to say that Floridians and people coming from out of state need to proceed with caution.
Idrizi Law Group Fights for Car Accident Victims
Our Florida wrongful death and car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping families impacted by negligence on the road. With decades of combined experience and thousands of dollars in damages recovered, Idrizi Law Group takes a compassionate approach to cases and will work with you to receive maximum compensation.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury or is dealing with the loss of a family member from a car accident, schedule a free consultation by calling (727) 202-5499 or visiting our website.