Tampa’s traffic crash crisis: Why are roadway fatalities increasing in Hillsborough County?
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
Last week, there were eight deadly car accidents over a seven-day stretch in Hillsborough County. While the numbers seem alarming, this is an average week on Tampa Bay roads. What can we do about Tampa’s traffic crash crisis?
Tampa Bay is experiencing a growing public health crisis. As cars and roadways become safer, traffic fatalities in Hillsborough County remain persistently high. In 2022, there were 434 fatal crashes in Tampa Bay. That equates to a deadly crash every 20 hours.
Tampa’s traffic crash crisis
A report from the Times found that in one week, from April 17-23, 2022, drivers crashed at least 1,575 times in Tampa Bay. That’s nine crashes an hour, every hour, for seven days straight. In 43 of those accidents, at least one person was seriously injured. In eight, someone died.
Where are accidents most likely to occur in Tampa Bay?
● More than three-fourths of crashes occur during daylight, but half of all fatal crashes are at night.
● Damage to property and vehicles cost about $10.3 million.
● Half of the people killed were men on motorcycles, ranging from 26-61.
● Half of crashes resulted in citations for driving infractions.
Car accidents are occurring at an alarming rate in Tampa Bay. Data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (below) shows where all the traffic incidents occurred during the week of April 17-23, 2022.
Why factors are causing Tampa’s traffic crash crisis?
Experts attribute several factors to the increase in car accidents and roadway fatalities across Tampa Bay.
- Speeding – Tampa Bay is notorious for speeding. Reports indicated speeding causes 9% of all fatal car crashes in Tampa Bay.
- More traffic – Year over year, Tampa Bay’s roadways become more congested with traffic. With more vehicles on the road, the number of accidents is bound to increase.
- Unsafe roadway conditions – Many accidents in Tampa Bay are partially caused by unsafe roadway conditions (driver error still plays a big part). This is especially true for the alarming number of pedestrian and cyclist accidents that occur. There are numerous intersections and roads across Tampa Bay that need more lights, safer crosswalks, bicycle lanes, and clearer signage.
- Driving under the influence – What shouldn’t be a factor is quickly becoming a major issue. Driving under the influence (DUI) rates were declining, but in recent years (since the pandemic), DUIs have been increasing.
- Distracted driving – Texting and using smartphones while driving continues to be a major concern on Tampa Bay roadways. More than 60% of all drivers admit to using their cellphones while driving. But that number is likely higher…
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