Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties Continue to Lead Florida in Serious Car Accidents
In spite of supposed construction improvements to our Tampa Bay roads, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties continue to be among the most dangerous in terms of serious and fatal car accidents in Florida. The Tampa Bay area leads the Sunshine State in pedestrian and bicycle accidents, outpacing larger urban areas such as Miami-Dade.
In Pinellas County alone, there was nearly a 10% increase in car accidents from 2014 to 2015. 2016 does not appear to reverse this troubling trend. During the same period (2014-2015), Pinellas County witnessed a corresponding 10% increase in car accidents involving serious injuries.
While there are many factors that contribute to this spike in Pinellas County car accidents, alcohol and drug use are major contributing factors. In comparing 2014 statistics to 2015, alcohol-related car accidents in Pinellas County increased by nearly 11%. This increase comes in spite of law enforcement efforts to curb the problem through DUI checkpoints and increased patrols during peak hours.
The data is troubling for all of us who live and work in Tampa Bay but it can also serve as a useful tool in attempting to avoid a serious car accidents. For instance, data is kept concerning the most dangerous roads in Pinellas County. While most of the intersections are located in northern Pinellas County where the population density is greater, there are some trouble spots to be aware of in central and southern Pinellas such as I-275 and Ulmerton Road and I-275 and Gandy Blvd.
In addition to dangerous roads, we should be aware of other factors that contribute to the increased chance of a serious car accident. Data shows that late night/early morning, especially weekends or holidays, is more dangerous because there is likely an increase in impaired driving. Armed with this information, if we have to drive during these times, we should be on the lookout for erratic driving patterns such as lane changes, dramatic changes in speed, and tailgating.
If we are aware of these dangers and take the necessary precautions we increase our likelihood at arriving safely at our destination.