Florida Leads Nation In Motorcycle Deaths
March 4, 2016
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compiled data on motorcycle deaths for 2013 and, for the nation overall, the data looks somewhat promising but for Florida, the news isn’t good at all.
Nationwide, there were 4,668 motorcycle deaths reported in 2013, a drop of six percent over the 4,986 killed the year before. The 88,000 motorcycle injuries also reflected a five percent drop over 2012.
In compiling the data, the NHTSA researchers found that:
- Twenty-five percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses.
- In 2013, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were found to have the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle type (27% for motorcycles, 23% for passenger cars, 21% for light trucks, and 2% for large trucks).
- Forty percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2013 were alcohol-impaired.
- Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were almost four times more frequently alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day.
- In States without universal helmet laws, 59 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2013 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8 percent in States with universal helmet laws.
In spite of the fact that California and Texas have greater populations and the number of registered motorcycles in California beats Florida by 33 percent, Florida had the highest motorcycle death rate in the nation in 2013. With a smaller population and fewer registered motorcycles, how could Florida have so many more motorcycle deaths?
California has a mandatory helmet law but Florida doesn’t. In Florida, a motorcycle rider over the age of 21 with $10,000 worth of liability insurance doesn’t have to wear a helmet. Texas has a law similar to Florida’s. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,630 motorcyclists’ lives in 2013, and that 715 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
In Florida, 34 percent of all motorcyclists killed in crashes had a BAC of .01 or higher, meaning they were impaired at the time of their death and 29 percent were legally drunk with a BAC level of .08 or higher.
States by Population
Registered Motorcycles *
Mandatory Helmet Law
Helmet Use Percent
*According to Motorcycle Roads.com
Motorcyclists are already a lot more vulnerable to death and injury than those who are protected by the structure of the typical motor vehicle. Smart motorcyclists are trained on how to ride safely and know to ride sober and with all the protective gear available.
For more information, visit: NHTSA 2013 Traffic Safety Facts – Motorcycles
Is The Florida Driving Test Too Hard?
July 20, 2015
Is the Florida driving test too hard? According to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, only 41 percent of test takers passed the test during the first six months of 2015.
Alarmed by one of the highest teen death rates in the nation, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety (DHSMV) decided to revamp the driving test for the first time in more than 20 years. Within a month of the introduction of the new exam, state officials were warning of an extremely high failure rate. Prior to the introduction of the new test, the failure rate was approximately 40 percent but after the new test was introduced, the failure rate rose to almost 70 percent statewide.
The old driving test actually consisted of two separate tests; a 20 question test on road signs and a 20 question test on road rules. The new test consists of a single 50 question test on both road rules and road signs. In order to pass, the test taker must answer 80 percent or more of the questions correctly.
Many are complaining that the new driving test has questions that are poorly worded, difficult to understand, or that have nothing to do with driving safety. Among the question examples in the Tampa Bay Times story was a question on how much it costs for a veteran to get a “V” designation on their driver’s license.
The driving test questions were created by a Nevada company called Solutions Thru Software. Some are complaining that the company has an incentive to make the test too hard because they receive a payment for each test taken through third party providers.
The state is trying to do a balancing act by creating a driving test that accurately gauges an applicant’s knowledge of driving laws while, at the same time, achieving a goal of a 70 percent passing rate. The state has changed or dropped some of the questions but, according to the DHSMV chief of staff Leslie Palmer, reaching a goal of a 70 percent passing rate may not be achievable this year.
The highest scoring county in Florida with 1000 tests taken is St. Johns County with a 57 percent passing rate. The lowest scoring county with 1000 tests taken is Nassau County with just a 32 percent passing rate.
What hasn’t changed is the need for future drivers to thoroughly study the Florida driver handbook if they want to pass the test. Applicants can also take practice exams online before attempting the real thing.
Read more: Failure rates spike after overhaul of Florida written driver’s license test
Florida Driving Test Changed
February 11, 2015
The written portion of the Florida driving test was changed last year and, apparently, a lot of people are having a hard time passing the newer version.
According to the Florida Department of Highways and Motor Vehicles, the old test hadn’t been updated in 20 years and many of the questions could be found online so it was decided that the time had come to update the test.
According to a spokesman for the Duval County, FL Tax Collector’s office, the previous test had a failure rate of about 40 percent. Since the new test was introduced, the failure rate statewide has increased to almost 70 percent.
The previous test consisted of a total of 40 questions with 20 questions on road rules and 20 on road signs. The new test consists of 50 questions with 45 on road rules and 5 on road signs and it also also requires a passing rate of 80% compared to the old passing rate of 75 percent.
There was no time limit on the old version of the test but the new test has a time limit of one hour.
The new test draws the 50 questions from a total database of 1200 questions so if someone has to take the test again, he or she is unlikely to see the same question twice. There’s no charge for the first test but, if a prospective driver fails the test, each re-test costs an additional $10 plus a $6.25 service fee for a total of $16.25.
Before attempting to take the Florida driving test, prospective drivers should study the driving handbook and can benefit from taking online practice tests.
Read more: DMV: More people failing after driving test change
Teens Killed More Often In Older Cars
January 7, 2015
The older cars passed down to teen drivers may not be the best choice when it comes to keeping teens safe on the road. Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), shows that most teens killed in traffic crashes were driving a vehicle that was at least six years old and almost half were driving vehicles that were eleven years old or older. Continue Reading
Parents Ignore Teen’s Advice Against Texting, Driving High
August 8, 2014
Parents are ignoring their teen’s advice against texting and driving while high. This strange sort of modern day turnaround was revealed in a survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Holding Co. The survey results showed that 42 percent of teens report that they have asked parents to stop texting while driving and 18 percent have complained to their parents about driving while high on marijuana. Continue Reading