Car Accident in Orlando

“The City Beautiful.” “The Theme Park Capital of the World.” “O-Town.”

Orlando goes by a lot of affectionate nicknames. It’s home to some 260,000 people and a destination for some 62 million global visitors every year. It’s one of the biggest cities in Florida and is home to the University of Central Florida, Walt Disney World (and numerous other major parks) and a bustling downtown.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the fourth-most-popular American City, according to the Pew Research Center.

Although it’s a thriving metro area today, not long ago, Orlando was mostly rural farmland. It wasn’t until the arrival of Walt Disney World in 1971 that Orlando’s future was truly solidified. Although Disney had considered both Miami and Tampa for the site, he ultimately chose Orlando because it was less at risk for coastal hurricane damage. The founding of this park ushered in explosive growth for the region. It was the beginning of Orlando being the site of more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world. It made tourism the jewel of our local economy, which now includes one of the busiest airports in the U.S., hundreds of resorts and hotels and thousands of restaurants and other entertainment venues.

But what’s been great for business and tourism has proven perilous on our roads. Our Orlando car accident lawyers recognize that some of the top causes of traffic accidents in the city include:

  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Careless driving
  • Red light running
  • Distracted driving

In a single recent year, the Orlando Police Department reported more than 8,500 crashes causing more than 6,000 injuries and 33 deaths.

Also, a significant number of motor vehicle accidents in Orlando stem from the ongoing trouble with traffic congestion.

Traffic Congestion and Public Safety

Not long ago, the TomTom Traffic Index, which measures congestion in 200 cities worldwide, Orlando ranked the 99th in the world for the highest traffic congestion. Per year, travelers spend 91 additional hours in traffic as compared to the national average. Every day, it tacks on an additional 24 minutes of road time.

Orlando is the third-most congested city in Florida and the 18th in the U.S.

Although many people accept this as a fact of life when they live in a larger metro area, the reality is traffic congestion has a very real impact on public safety. There are three major side effects to this:

  • Delays. This is more than just an inconvenience. Especially for people who are unfamiliar with the region, it can result in a tendency to speed, push their luck at a red light or fail to yield – all of which increases the risk of an accident.

  • Road Rage. These are senseless – and often illegal – acts that are a response to traffic congestion. It could involve things like tailgating or cutting other drivers off or running red lights or speeding or even getting into shouting matches on the road. With road rage, these acts are retaliatory, carried out in response to perceived slights by other drivers. In essence, they are temper tantrums. But they can be extremely dangerous, and often do result in collisions and injuries.

  • Slower Emergency Response. Traffic congestion has a direct impact on response times for emergency workers, such as police, firefighters, emergency medical workers and others. Although Orlando does have a system in place that allows emergency crews to automatically change traffic lights in order to keep traffic moving, these workers still have to operate safely while getting to their destination quickly. That can prove challenging when there is ample congestion.

The City of Orlando’s Transportation Planning Department has been grappling with traffic-calming measures and other traffic safety solutions since its founding in 1988.

Orlando Transportation Solutions on Horizon

The city’s ongoing effort to alleviate some of the traffic woes involves a multi-pronged approach.

The first goal is to make the region “multi-modal.” That is, both commuters and visitors will have numerous travel options that don’t necessarily involve cars. That means:

  • Coordinating roadway design, construction and reconstruction that allows for more transit facilities, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and safer pedestrian crossings;

  • Including bicycle lanes as part of all roadway resurfacing projects;

  • Incorporating bicycle and pedestrian facilities in designs of all major construction and transit facilities;

  • Including pedestrian and bicycle-friendly plans in both aviation and rail system improvements.

With downtown Orlando’s residential population expected to grow by 160 percent over the next 20 years (and employment population doubling too), the second goal is to make streets that are not only complete (i.e., designed for ALL road users), but also connected and intuitive. That means adding additional turn lanes at key intersections, creating extensions and re-alignments to complete the roadway network and convert one-way streets into two-way streets.

The city also plans to update its parking structures and encourage more active street life.

Such plans are a great start to improving traffic safety for all road users. However, they won’t entirely eliminate the risk of car accidents in Orlando. If you are injured or a loved one killed in a Central Florida traffic accident, we can help you pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.

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