Fort Walton Beach Road Safety Overview
Fort Walton Beach is a seaside community in Okaloosa County, Florida. Even though it boasts a “small-town feel,” the city has more than 20,000 residents. Additionally, thousands more people visit Fort Walton Beach each year to enjoy Florida’s coast and local attractions.
Therefore, road safety in Fort Walton Beach is a top priority for residents and community leaders. Traffic accidents cause needless deaths and injuries. Motor vehicle crashes also harm tourism and cost the city money in repairs and emergency services.
Traffic Accident Statistics for the Fort Walton Beach Area
From 2018 through 2020, there was an average of 382,297 traffic crashes statewide in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides crash data each year. While it does not break down accident statistics by city, it does provide statistics for traffic crashes by county.
From 2018 through 2020, crash statistics for Okaloosa County include:
- Average traffic crashes per year totaled 3,394
- 111 traffic fatalities
- 6,184 traffic injuries
- Average of 1,968 property damage crashes each year
- Approximately 66 crashes per year involving alcohol
- 8 alcohol-related traffic fatalities
- 298 motorcycle accidents, including 19 deaths
- 231 pedestrian accidents, including 22 deaths
- 192 bicycle accidents, including five deaths
- 668 commercial motor vehicle accidents
Many of the traffic accidents that occur in Fort Walton Beach could have been avoided. The causes of traffic crashes are generally related to negligence and poor driving decisions.
Causes of Fort Walton Beach Car Accidents
The causes of car accidents in Fort Walton Beach include human error, poor weather conditions, and dangerous road conditions. In addition, in some cases, defective automobile parts and poorly designed streets and intersections contribute to the cause of a traffic accident.
Examples of negligence and dangerous driving behaviors that can lead to an automobile accident include:
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving too fast for conditions and speeding
- Reckless driving and road rage
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Texting while driving
- Improper lane changes
Government agencies work to identify the cause of traffic accidents. The data can help officials understand the cause of traffic accidents so they can work to improve road safety. However, improving road safety in Fort Walton Beach is a community effort.
What is Your Role in Improving Road Safety in Fort Walton Beach, FL?
Whether you are driving a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle, or walking, you have a duty of care to follow traffic laws. You also have a duty of care to act reasonably to avoid traffic accidents. Individuals who breach the duty of care could be held financially liable for damages caused by a motor vehicle accident.
Everyone can take steps to avoid causing traffic accidents. Safety tips for improving road safety include:
- Avoid distracted driving, bicycling, and walking
- Never operate a motor vehicle or bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Do not go for a walk after consuming alcohol or under the influence of drugs
- Avoid driving, cycling, and walking when drowsy or fatigued
- Know, understand, and follow Florida traffic laws
- Slow down when approaching intersections, schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods
- Drive slowly and watch for pedestrians in parking lots
- Avoid bicycling and walking at night
- If walking or riding at night, use lights and reflective decals to increase visibility to motorists
- Teach children road safety, including bicycle safety and pedestrian safety
- Set good examples by always wearing seat belts when riding in a vehicle and wearing helmets when riding bicycles or motorcycles
- Children should always ride in approved car seats based on their age, weight, and height
When everyone works together, road safety improves. Creating safe streets for all users benefits the community as a whole. The consequences of traffic accidents can be devastating.
What Are the Consequences of a Traffic Crash in Fort Walton Beach?
Accident victims may sustain severe injuries in a traffic crash. Pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists are vulnerable road users. They have virtually no protection from injuries in a collision.
Common accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Injury to internal organs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Wrongful death of a loved one
An accident victim may incur substantial medical bills because of an accident. They may also have significant lost wages because they cannot work due to accident injuries. Additionally, accident victims suffer pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Under Florida personal injury laws, accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. They can seek legal advice regarding filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit.