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Traffic Crash Data Released; Death Rate Declines

CONTACT: Robert Sanchez
Public Information Administrator

July 24, 2002

TALLAHASSEE—The odds against dying in a Florida traffic crash improved in 2001. Data gathered by police agencies and compiled by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show that fatalities per miles traveled declined by 5.2 percent last year --even though the total number of traffic deaths edged up slightly, to 3,013 from 2,999 the previous year. Traffic injuries also rose slightly, to 234,600 from 231,588.

Reversing a decade-long decline, however, alcohol-related deaths and injuries rose in 2001, to 1,000 killed (up 2.1 percent) and 20,001 injured (up 1.2 percent). To address the problem, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jeb Bush signed House Bill 1057, which makes Florida’s DUI laws among the nation’s strongest. Enforcing those laws is one of the Department’s top priorities.

Meanwhile, fatalities increased among the users of motorcycles and bicycles. Motorcycle crashes claimed 276 lives in 2001 vs. 246 the previous year. That 12.1 percent increase, however, lagged the 20.4 percent jump in the number of registered motorcycles. Of the 276 persons who died in motorcycle crashes, 43 percent were wearing safety helmets and 57 percent were not. Whether those percentages are proportionate to the rate of helmet usage by all motorcyclists was unknown. Crashes killed 107 bicyclists in 2001, a 28.9 percent increase. However, traffic crashes involving pedestrians rose only slightly, to 510 in 2001 from 506 the year before.

"Although the number of deaths in relation to miles traveled was the lowest in 10 years, we must never lose sight of the fact that 256,169 motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2001," said DHSMV Executive Director Fred O. Dickinson. "Information about these crashes helps us better understand highway safety issues and develop effective solutions such as strictly enforcing DUI laws and promoting the use of seatbelts and child safety seats. Reducing traffic deaths and injuries requires the continued and combined efforts of state, local, and federal agencies, and all partners working to make highways safe."

The entire 2001 report and reports from previous years are posted on the Web. Go to www.flhsmv.gov and look for "Statistics and Studies."

2002 Press Releases       DHSMV Press Releases

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