Memorials Serve as a Reminder. The Sunshine State is home to the most dangerous highway in the nation. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Interstate 95 stretches across 382 miles in the state of Florida.
While this is by far the heaviest traveled highway in the state, it is also lined with memorials reminding drivers and passengers of the lives it has claimed.
Cathy Armato knows this stretch of road all too well, as it claimed the life of her 22-year old son, Nick Lane, in 2004. According to the Sun Sentinel, the Presnell family now shares Armato’s pain, as they recently lost Shalese Rania Presnell in a roll-over car accident also on I-95 one July morning this year.
The Daily Beast, an online news network, used figures and data provided by the NHTSA and reached several determinations.
- Between 2004 and 2009, 1-95 had 1.73 fatal accidents per mile.
- During the same period of time, there were 93 accidents that killed a total of 126 people.
- According to Scripps Howard News Service, one single accident on this roadway killed 9 people.
What Are the Causes? Armato blames these accidents on speeding, including her son who was speeding at the time of his fatal accident. Other people in the area believe that aggressive driving, in addition to high speeds, is another factor in accidents. Many residents surrounding 1-95 claim they only travel on this highway when absolutely necessary.
One of the most deadly areas on 1-95 is in Broward County. Joe Evans, of Stuart, reports taking this roadway daily to commute to work. He states that drivers in larger vehicles get cut off, causing them to have no place to go, and ultimately forcing other vehicles off of the road.
Still, many law officials who patrol the highway claim that driver distraction is a large contributing factor in these deadly accidents.
Common driver distractions include:
- Cell phones and other electronic devices
- Video players
- Satellite navigation systems
Distracted driving is highly dangerous on any roadway, however, combined with the congestion, speed, and aggression, the problems, risks, and odds of a fatal accident double.
Distracting Disasters. In fact, distracted driving has become so common that many highway patrol officers report that drivers are completely surprised when they see flashing lights in their rear view mirrors.
Drivers used to immediately notice when an emergency vehicle approaches them from behind; however, today emergency vehicles often go unnoticed because drivers are too distracted.
The Florida Department of Transportation partially blames the volume of drivers on the roadway for accidents. In some areas, I-95 spans up to twelve lanes.
It is impossible to add more lanes in these areas, so more express lanes have been added as a result in order to help decrease congestion and accidents. In addition, signals have been added to many on-ramps to help slow the flow of traffic.
A Promising Future. For the thousands of families who have lost a loved one on I-5 in Florida, nothing can reverse the past.
However, seeing positive actions from drivers, law enforcement, and the Florida Department of Transportation can reduce the risk of additional deadly accidents happening in the future.