Florida’s consistently beautiful weather not only earned it the title of The Sunshine State, but it acts as an enticement for tourism. The combination of the millions of annual visitors and the number of residents that call the state home make it a place where raising the speed limit to 75 mph is risky move, according to lobbyists with the AAA Auto Club South.
The warning was issued in the debate over a Florida bill that would increase the authority of the state Department of Transportation to regulate minimum and maximum speed limits within the state. This authority would apply to any divided highway that has four lanes or more. Passing of the bill leaves the door open to speed limits as high as 75 mph in the state.
The bill was voted on in the House Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 4. There, the members issued a 13-1 vote in support of the measure. It was Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who stood alone against the measure. His main concern was safety, and he feared that increasing the limit would only make drivers think that it was okay to drive five mph over the new limit.
It’s a very realistic fear, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Lee Moffitt with the AAA pointed toward a NHTSA study that found that in approximately one third of the total number of traffic-related fatalities in 2012 speed was a factor. Further, the states that had the higher speed limits tended to have a higher-than-average fatality rate in a national comparison.
The truth is that the data mentioned above likely included fatal accidents that occurred at varying speeds below 75 mph. There certainly are negligent drivers on the roads, and they are already putting others at risk. Families in Boca Raton have the right to seek compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one caused by one of these reckless drivers.