Numbers tell tales. What stories and patterns do Pinellas County crash statistics in the first few months of 2018 tell us? To get some context, here are some facts about Pinellas County.
About Pinellas County
Pinellas County is located on Florida’s West Coast. The county is on a peninsula bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. With an area of just 280 square miles, it is the second-smallest county in Florida. St. Petersburg is the largest city in the county.
Pinellas became its own county in 1912, and its population has grown from 13, 193 in 1912 to some 970, 637 in July 2017, according to US Census estimates. This makes Pinellas the most densely populated county in Florida. The Census Bureau estimated that 23.8 percent of the population in July 2016 was over 65 years, which is a few percentage points higher than Florida as a whole.
Accidents and crashes are an inevitable part of increased population and driving. Still, they can be costly in terms of human life and economic cost. According to one report, over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year, with an additional 2.35 million injured or disabled. Road crashes cost the US $230.6 billion annually. In Pinellas County, a 2016 study estimated the economic costs at $1.5 billion.
We can get data about crashes from Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES). The data in this system goes back to 2011, allowing for comparisons across time.
As of April 18, 2018, there had been a total of 5,050 crashes since the beginning of the year in Pinellas County. Compared to the 3,802 crashes in the first four months of 2011, the number of crashes has increased by almost a quarter. For context, the increase in the population of Pinellas County between April 2010 and July 2017 is less than six percent.
The small proportion of commercial vehicle crashes in these first few months of 2018 follows the same pattern as in the previous year. Nationally, thanks to increased safety measures, crashes are not causing injuries and fatalities as in the past. In March 2018, the National Highway Transport Administration released a report on 2016 motor vehicle crashes. This report found that while close to 30 percent of the crashes resulted in injuries, only about half of one percent resulted in fatalities. Thus far, the proportion of crashes with injuries in Pinellas County is much higher. However, the proportion of fatalities in Pinellas County crashes is comparable. Compared to the figures from last year, bicycle fatalities have jumped dramatically already in the first few months of this year.
Most crashes (about 58 percent) in Pinellas County caused property damage. This follows very closely the pattern of accidents in the previous year. In contrast, close to 70 percent of crashes in the US in 2016 had property damage.
Breaking Down the Data
What do the statistics tell us about some common assumptions?
First, it should come as no surprise that the largest age group of drivers involved in Pinellas County crashes is the 65+ group. What is surprising is that the 15 to 19-year-old group is among the smallest percent of drivers in crashes thus far. Nationally, younger drivers tend to be crash more frequently than any other age group. Even as recently as 2015, Pinellas‘s teen drivers accounted for crashes that were double their share of licensed drivers. It is great to know that in Pinellas County at least this year, younger drivers are more careful and practicing defensive driving.
Second, thus far in Pinellas County, no clear patterns emerge from the day of the week in terms of crashes. For the first four months of 2018, the two biggest days of the week for crashes are Tuesday and Friday. This is very similar to the 2017 statistics. Nationally, most fatal crashes in 2015 occurred on Saturday and Sunday when more people are probably out on the roads. They may also be more careless and the days when people will probably consume more alcohol.
Third, when it comes to time of day, as of April 18 Pinellas County crashes peaked between 3.00 and 5.00 p.m. This pattern followed that of the previous year. The national statistics for 2015 paint a slightly different picture, with most fatal crashes occurring in the 6 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. period. It is likely that these times are simply the period when rush hour occurs. Related to the time of day is the lighting condition when the crashes happen. In Pinellas County, a substantial majority of accidents thus far (close to 70 percent) took place in daylight, whereas in the country, less than half the fatal crashes took place in the daylight.
With such a dense population, Pinellas County drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians need to exercise caution on the roads. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the fault of another on our roads call our Pinellas county car accident attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation at 800-753-5203, we are available 24/7