Spring Break is coming to Florida next week, and with it a major increase of traffic on the state’s roads as millions vacation from here and many other states.
Among those drivers will be the young, traditionally the leading victims of traffic crashes, according to experts. But another bracket is now taking the lead in fatal crashes in Florida, at the other end of the age spectrum.
Florida now leads the country in the number (682) of traffic fatalities involving at least one driver over 65, according to TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research group in Washington. Florida is also second in the nation in the number (3,341,250) of drivers 65 or older. In both cases, Texas ranked behind Florida with 568 deaths and 2,544,250 drivers.
Crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, 2,333 teens 16 to 19 years old in the United States were killed, or about six every day, the CDC said. But the older you get, the worse the crash fatality statistics get, according to experts.
According to the TRIP “Preserving the Mobility and Safety of Older Americans” report, an estimated 46 million Americans are 65 or older, accounting for 15 percent of the total population. But the percentage is higher in Florida, with TRIP’s report saying 23 percent of the 3.3 million licensed drivers in Florida are 65 or older, based on 2012 to 2016 statistics.
TRIP’s report did not surprise Sgt. Dylan Bryan, the Florida Highway Patrol spokesman for Northeast Florida. Florida is a destination for older residents and drivers. And they use the same smartphones that lead to distracted younger drivers, and one cause of accidents, he said.