ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida’s death toll from car accidents averages 3,000 each year, according to WFTV 9. The number is staggering. The individual who dies has family and friends who not only mourn the unexpected death of their loved one, but their lives are turned upside down by the loss. In other words, the death of a person in a car accident, because it does happen suddenly and unexpectedly, reverberates well beyond the crash itself and alters many people’s lives for the worse. Central Florida’s several counties have observed an escalating death toll every year for the past five years. Authorities need to try to figure out why.
Central Florida is trending in the wrong direction in fatal motor vehicle crashes. From 2015 to 2019, Orange County saw fatal crashes increase by 23 percent from 142 to 174. However, the high-water mark was 2017 when 188 people died that year in auto accidents. Orange County is perhaps the most populous county in Florida, which accounts for the higher number of deaths in car crashes.
Volusia County saw a similar trend. The total deaths in car crashes peaked in 2017 with 130. However, the total from 2015 to 2019 increased by an astounding 35 percent, from 87 to 117.
Brevard County’s fatal car crashes did not increase on a percentage basis from 2015 to 2019, with the notable exception of 2016. In 2015, 82 people died in car wrecks.; 84 died in 2017, 85 died in 2018, and 83 in 2019, respectively. 2016 was an outlier: 98 people were killed in car accidents that year.
Seminole County car accident deaths ranged from 44 in 2015 to 48 in 2019. In 2017, 48 people died, and in 2016, 41 people were killed, and in 2018, 36 people lost their lives.
While three of Central Florida’s counties sustained losses that somewhat leveled off, Osceola County’s death toll rose 51 percent from 2015 to 2019. In 2015 and 2016, 49 people died in auto collisions. Since then, the numbers have increased to 55, 66, and 74, respectively.
Florida Highway Patrol says that impaired driving and dangerous intersections account for the rise in fatal crashes.
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