During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen roadways across the nation abandoned as if suddenly transported to a science fiction film. In fact, the number of vehicles travelling on Interstate 95 dropped to an all-time low. Although a lack of traffic in South Florida is something many have dreamt about, the rate of car accidents on I-95 remained high despite the lockdown. This begs the question, why is I-95 so dangerous if the high volume of accidents can’t be blamed on the amount of cars that utilize it each day? Has this major artery in South Florida become even more dangerous since the pandemic?
Could a Lack in Troopers Be Making Interstate 95 More Dangerous?
Florida Highway Patrol has doled out 38% fewer tickets for traffic violations over the last five years. In that time, fatal car crashes have increased over 40% on I-95. Although I-95 spans from Miami to Maine and 80% of it is outside of Florida, over a third of fatal accidents occur within the state.
Florida’s population has grown rapidly since the year 2000, with an increase of more than 1.5 million people in just the four years alone. Yet, there are fewer state troopers covering I-95 today than there were 20 years ago. Florida lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to hiring troopers in general, but Broward County is particularly slow. To compare, St. Johns County has one trooper for every 12,000 cars and Broward has one for every 26,000.
This lack of enforcement, combined with the severe decrease in traffic during COVID-19, has resulted in an enormous jump in reckless driving on I-95. Drivers have caught on to being able to get away with behavior they normally wouldn’t, such as:
- Drunk driving
- Underage driving
- Street racing
INRIX, a private company that provides transportation data, performed a study on the country’s busiest roadways from April 2020 to November 2020. The study showed that South Florida’s most dangerous spot is I-95 at Ives Dairy Road, ranking in at number 24 of the top 25 collision corridors in the country.
Without much law enforcement perusing the streets, drivers are also feeling more comfortable than ever to use their phones while driving. A research study by Zendrive found that drivers used their phones during 88% of the 570 million trips they analyzed. Talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of a crash by 2-4 times, regardless of whether you’re using a hand-held or hands-free device.
The anxiety over the pandemic has caused many to grow attached to their screens, and drivers aren’t being watched on the highway, so every minute spent on I-95 is getting riskier and riskier.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach
If you have been arrested for speeding, reckless driving, or another driving offense, your reputation and criminal record are on the line. Don’t let a single mistake determine your future. The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has over 30 years of experience defending West Palm Beach and South Florida residents facing charges for traffic violations.
Attorney Brian Gabriel will be with you every step of the way and is dedicated to helping you secure a favorable result in your case. The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel is committed to representing you in any criminal matter. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation for your case today.