Deaths from auto accidents reached record levels in 2021 in Hillsborough County, Florida. According to Hillsborough’s Transportation and Planning Organization, 255 people were killed in these auto accidents. This was a substantial increase over the number of deaths the previous year, and extraordinarily bad news for the community. The number of deaths was 33% higher than what was predicted for the year.
Hillsborough County’s Transportation Board is a group of elected and appointed officials sitting as transportation planners. The data was presented to them as they tried to set new safety goals for the years ahead. The information regarding the number of deaths from auto accidents in 2021 was not the news that they wanted to hear.
Auto Accident Death Statistics in Hillsborough County
The 255 auto accident deaths in Hillsborough county in 2021 represented a 20% jump over the amount of deaths in 2020. It also exceeded the previous record of deaths in a year from 2016 by 13%.
The data showed:
- 71% of deaths were on roads with speed limits of 40mph or less;
- 71% of deaths involved speeding or aggressive driving;
- 66% of the victims were under the age of 35.
Reasons for the Number of Auto Accident Deaths
The Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization gave several reasons for these dire numbers.
- Higher driving speeds by people during the pandemic;
- More substance abuse and alcohol use;
- Less of use seat-belts;
- Slower response times by emergency workers;
- More driving during off-peak hours.
Where Are the Most Dangerous Places in Hillsborough County?
In 2020, a speed management plan identified the most dangerous road corridors in Hillsborough County. The goal is to target these areas to reduce the number of deaths from auto accidents. The most dangerous roads were:
- Bloomingdale Avenue
- U.S. 41
- Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
- Big Bend Road
- Interstate 75
- Hillsborough Avenue
How to Reduce the Number of Auto Accident Deaths?
After learning of the troubling amount of deaths caused by auto accidents, there were several recommendations by the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization as follows:
- Supporting legislation for speed detecting cameras in school zones;
- Seeking new federal grants for pedestrian and bicycle safety;
- Focusing resources on the top 50 most dangerous corridors in the county.
Steps After an Auto Accident in Hillsborough Involving Death
Cooperate With Law Enforcement
I have found that the family of a victim receives a lot of support from law enforcement during their investigation. A traffic crash involving death takes time to investigate. During this period, the police will usually only speak with the victim’s family. Thus, I encourage families to be respectful, patient, and to cooperate. The police usually want to punish the people who cause the accident, so if you show them that you care, they might oblige.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
It is not a sales pitch when I recommend contacting an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. The advice that an experienced attorney can provide is invaluable during the days and weeks after the accident. It is important to move quickly. The claim must get set up, the civil investigation started, and the next of kin contacted and organized. There are normally a lot of out of pocket expenses immediately after the accident and those records need to be organized. It has been my experience that family members all contribute in the days after the death. But, those expenses can be recovered.
Contact a Probate Attorney
Before a claim can be started, a personal representative must be chosen. A probate attorney needs to be involved at this stage to advise on who is eligible. The lawyer will also determine which assets must be probated. I always work with a probate attorney on every death case because it is important for everyone to understand the process.
Gather Information for Losses
Out of pocket expenses are the easiest items to track. But, what about loss of income? What about loss on investments? What about pain and suffering? There is a lot of money tied to these categories of damages. I help all of my clients understand what needs to be done to track these losses.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Hillsborough County
I specialize in auto accidents involving serious injuries and death in Hillsborough County. Sadly, the statistics in the article above were no surprise to me because I see the carnage from these accidents daily. Our office in Riverview is close to many of the most dangerous corridors identified by the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization. While the plans recommended for increased safety are worthwhile, they do not appear to be designed to have any immediate effect on our roads. Thus, it is up to us all to be defensive drivers to minimize our risk.
If you or a loved one has been killed in an auto accident in Hillsborough County, I can help. My office has a team of probate attorneys who can advise you on how to prepare an estate and choose a personal representative. I will work closely with the team while I attempt to recover compensation for the losses. My consultations are always free of charge. Best of luck during this difficult time.