The statistics are in. 2011 will go down as one of the safest years in memory on Florida’s roads — continuing a six-year trend of declining traffic fatalities in the state.
According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), there were 2,312 traffic deaths in Florida, by December 26, 2011.
In 2010, state officials tallied 2,444 traffic deaths in Florida.
Law enforcement credits increased patrols, specifically as they relate to impaired driving. As they have for years, the Florida Highway Patrol plans to set up more DUI checkpoints this New Year’s holiday, along with “saturation patrols” in potential hot spots.
However, the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Broward Sheriff’s Office plan only routine patrols for the holiday weekend.
Traffic deaths are tragic but are not always criminal. A non-criminal infraction that leads to a death is considered a fatality. While there may be non-criminal sanctions, such as a driver's license suspension or fine, there is no criminal liability.
If you are accused of reckless driving (driving with wanton disregard for the safety of others) and somebody dies, you will face felony charges.
If you are not accused of reckless driving but are cited for a fatal traffic accident, remember that the citation is non-criminal.