Construction along I-4 in central Florida has been going on for several years. The construction, officially called the I-4 Ultimate Project, was proposed and approved as a plan to ease up on the tremendous traffic congestion seen on the highway. As conceived, the massive widening and updating of the arterial road would make it easier, safer, and faster for drivers to travel through central Florida. Things, however, have not gone quite according to plan, and many drivers are expressing concern about recent reports that show accidents—both fatal and non-fatal—have actually increased since the construction began.
Public records obtained from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles initially show a positive shift in the number of accidents. According to these reports, during the first year of construction on I-4 there were 2,114 accidents on the highway. During the second year, that number fell to 2,096. A closer look at these otherwise hopeful statistics changes the texture of the picture.
During the second year of construction, while the number of actually accidents fell, the number of accidents that resulted in debilitating injuries rose from 59 to 88. That almost 30 percent jump in the number of serious injuries causes alarm in many would-be drivers, as does the additional fact that the number of fatalities related to accidents along the construction route of I-4 rose from 6 during the first year to 11 in the second.
Obviously, pinning down exactly what the causes are that are leading to these increased injuries and fatalities is difficult to do. Sgt. Kim Montes, acting as spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol, placed the blame solely on the drivers who are navigating the corridor. According to Sgt. Montes, many drivers who are traveling along I-4 have refused to adjust their driving habits even though they are now traveling through a construction zone. Drivers, on the other hand, claim that the reduced size of the shifting lanes and the numerous closed exits are leading them to collide with one another.
Regardless, Sgt. Montes ended her statement by asking that people driving along I-4 pay closer attention to the posted limit of 55mph, don’t let themselves get distracted, and obey the normal safety strategies for driving along a major highway.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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