Interstate 95 which runs through the length of Jacksonville’s Duval County and goes directly through downtown, is the country’s fifth deadliest interstate according to Everquote Auto Insurance Company. Everquote compiled data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
I-95 had nearly one death per mile during the five year period of 2010 to 2015. To put that in perspective, I-95 traverses approximately 30 miles in Duval County – meaning there were nearly 30 deaths on this stretch of interstate during the five year period.
Interstate 10, the eastern end of which begins in Jacksonville, was ranked the seventh most deadly with .85 deaths per mile. Interstate 4, which runs from Tampa to Daytona, is Florida’s deadliest interstate with an astonishing 1.4 deaths per mile. I-4 is our nation’s fourth deadliest interstate.
The U.S. Department of Transportation also reports a greater than 10% increase in traffic deaths from January 1, 2016, compared to the same six months of 2015. This may be an anomaly, it may result from an increase of vehicles on the road due to a sharp decrease in gas prices, or it may be due to an increase in distracted driving. No matter what the cause, we should experience a decrease in collisions over time, not an increase.
What is worse is that 2015 brought the highest increase in traffic fatalities in fifty years according to the National Safety Council. More than 38,000 people were killed in vehicle accidents in 2015 and another 4 million people required medical care for injuries. Furthermore, 2014 showed an 8% increase over 2013. Even though more miles are being driven in the years since the recession that began in 2008, the rate of fatal accidents has outpaced the increase in total miles driven. The exact cause is not known; however, we suspect that texting, tweeting and using Facebook while driving have played a significant role.
We certainly seem to see more drivers than ever on their cell phones while driving at highway speeds. Whenever I notice someone using their phone while driving (typing, not talking), I take measures to make sure that person does not end up behind me. Texters often fail to appreciate slowing traffic in time and frequently cause rear-end collisions.
Because interstates involve much higher speeds than local roads, the chances of suffering severe injury or death in a collision are higher than accidents that occur on local roadways. Further complicating things is that the downtown Jacksonville portion of I-95 has been under constant construction for over ten years now. Construction causes abrupt lane changes, sudden stops and confusion to motorists, all of which contribute to the chances an accident will occur. Continue reading