Few states in the U.S. experienced the kind of development boom that rocked Florida beginning in the 1960s. Development radically altered the Sunshine State’s landscape. A once rural tropical hideaway blossomed into the destination point it is today for everyone from wealthy homeowners to suburban families, waves of tourists, and global businesses. But Florida’s interstate system did not expand fast enough to facilitate the explosion of drivers on the roads.
As Florida’s population boom began in the 1960s and early 1970s, the state was plagued by interstate funding problems and an interstate program derided as corrupt and ineffective. Just when the state needed to get ahead of development to ensure proper and safe transportation infrastructure, politics stood in the way of progress.
Florida’s main thoroughfare, Interstate 95, is legendary for the amount of car crashes on its path. Between 2004 and 2008 alone, I-95 had 662 fatal accidents which averages out to a fatal accident every 1.73 miles. These statistics won I-95 distinction as deadliest U.S. interstate. This amount of fatalities in such a compact space is a glaring example illustrating the result of an overcrowded interstate system on drivers.
An over burdened interstate system deserves part, if not all, of the blame for a horrific multi car pile up on Florida’s other main thoroughfare Interstate 75. Before dawn on a Sunday morning in 2012, a haze covered a stretch of I-75 near Gainesville, Florida. Without a modernized warning system, drivers were left in the dark. One car after another slammed into cars crashed ahead of them. The scene described was ripped from a Hollywood movie. Floridians had just experienced a similar pile up in 2008 on another stretch of interstate near Orlando that resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.
Florida has also seen its share of road rage incidents. While road rage certainly is the result of a drivers’ psychology, an overburdened transportation system only generates more anger and stress for those predisposed to take out their aggression behind the wheel. Recently, a Florida driver’s bizarre acts of road rage went viral when they were caught on tape. A driver making a dangerous pass on the road, pausing to flip off the driver the other car, lost control of his car and crashed into a pole. The incident is referred to in media as “Instant Karma”.
In short, Florida’s status as an international tourist mecca, reputation as an excellent state to headquarter a business, and wonderful locale to raise a family have consistently generated a populace whose growth outpaces the speed with which government implements safe and secure roadways for the people.