FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The latest data from the Institute for Highway Safety shows that Florida ranks third in the nation for overall traffic deaths. Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the most dangerous places to drive in the state with South Florida intersections logging some of the highest number of accidents.
Last January, Joyce and Clarence Steele were broadsided by another driving running a red light.
“I saw this car coming at about 40 miles an hour and the next thing I know, by the time my thought went away, all I heard was a boom.”
Joyce Steele remembers saying, “ ‘Jesus I’m dead now.' I couldn’t believe it."
Accident attorney Jason Chalik said dangerous driving in South Florida is on the rise. "All day I get telephone calls from people with different injuries and accidents. “It not slowing down, there are more people in the area, more tourists and and it’s becoming a bigger problem than it was,” said Chalik.
On the list of some of South Florida’s deadliest intersections: Pines Boulevard and South Flamingo Road in Pembroke Pines; A1A and Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale; Northeast Second Avenue and 36th Street in Miami; Alton Road and Dade Boulevard on South Beach.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom reminds motorists to watch out for bicyclists, people on scooters, and those walking.
In an effort to reverse the growing trend, an initiative called “Vision Zero,” was launched in Broward County five years ago with the goal of reaching zero traffic deaths in a calendar year.
“It’s too early for that but the data we’re seeing is good,” said Lagerbloom.
Chalik advised that the best protection is to drive, walk and ride defensively.
“You never want to depend on your safety with the hope that the other person is doing the right thing,” said Chalik.
While the Steeles have recovered from their physical injuries, the emotional trauma of their accident lingers. “I just see it over and over. I’m so scared,” said Joyce Steele.
Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are the main cause of deadly accidents in Florida, but weather conditions, distractions and age are also key factors. The amount of drivers over 65 in car accidents is almost double that of younger drivers.