According to a review of federal car crash data, Florida leads the nation in the amount of people who drown in their vehicles after a car crash on an annual basis. The numbers show that it isn’t even close — 49 people between 2008 and 2012 were victims of such an accident, compared to 18 for second-place Texas.
An additional study conducted in 2011 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would indicate that those numbers are only the tip of the iceberg, with the amount of deaths in the period from 2004-2007 being even higher. And yet, due to the way some law enforcement agencies record cause of death in accidents, this likely does not account for all vehicle drownings within the last ten years.
The problem is at its most severe in South Florida, particularly in Palm Beach County. However, it is a statewide problem. Florida has significantly more miles of roads that run right along water than any other state, including both naturally occurring water like likes and oceans as well as retention ponds that road builders must dig near roads because of local and state environmental mandates. These roadside canals are often where these types of accidents and deaths occur.
Some critics have begun to question whether state and local jurisdictions have done enough to make these areas safe for drivers. Additional guardrails and ensuring the roads and canals are built exactly to federal safety standards would help to curb the problem. If an investigation were to yield that these roads and canals were not being built to meet such standards, then the local or state governments could be considered liable in the drowning deaths of those who suffer such accidents.
Be sure to stay safe on the road, especially when driving near water. If a loved one has drowned after a motor vehicle crash, speak with the Bradenton car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.