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Cape ranked top in Fla. for safe drivers

By Staff | Jul 9, 2009

Many think car accidents are a common sight in Cape Coral, especially during rush-hour commutes, yet a report released Wednesday by Allstate Insurance Company ranked the city as having the safest drivers out of any city in Florida.
Each year Allstate compiles data on collisions and ranks cities across the United States based on the their likelihood for a collision and average years between a crash.
“Drivers in Cape Coral are making great progress toward keeping America’s roadways safe,” said Mike Sheely, field vice president of Allstate’s Florida region. “We salute Cape Coral’s best drivers and recognize their safe driving skills, which make our communities safer places to live, work and raise families.”
Out of the 200 cities in the country with the safest drivers, the Cape ranked 42 with 10.3 years between collisions and drivers being 3 percent less likely to crash.
The safest U.S. city is Sioux Falls, S.D., which averages 13.5 years between collisions and whose drivers are 26 percent less likely to crash.
Washington, D.C., ranked worst on the list in 2009 with 5.1 years between collisions and 95 percent likelihood of drivers getting into an accident.
This is not the first year Cape drivers were named safest. City drivers were named the best in Florida in 2005 and 2007 but fell behind Tallahassee last year.
In 2009, Tallahassee jumped to number 60.
Sheely reported that the major cause of car accidents is human error.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40,000 people die each year from car crashes.
“It is vital for us to educate drivers across the county on the importance of being tolerant and attentive behind the wheel,” said Sheely.
Connie Barron, spokesperson for the city of Cape Coral, said there were a total of 3,425 car accidents in 2008 and for the first seven months of 2009 there have been 1,743.
The “Stay Alive, Just Drive” campaign educates Lee County residents to avoid driving while distracted by talking on a cell phone, tuning a radio, text messaging or eating, for example.
Executive director Jay Anderson said local awareness efforts are spearheaded by the educational campaign, law enforcement and traffic engineers.
“There isn’t any question, as one of the three components of traffic safety, we are all making an impact,” he said.
Law enforcement officers are citing unsafe drivers and traffic engineers are redesigning roads to protect drivers — lanes are made wider, speed limits are altered and the timing of traffic signals is being optimized.
According to Anderson, rear-end collisions are the most common in Lee County and statistics show that 85 percent of the crashes are attributed to driver inattention. A majority of the crashes have more of an economic impact, but the danger associated with crashes depends on the high rate of speed and a number of other factors.
“Our primary goal is to promote traffic crash prevention through awareness and education,” he said. “Everyone is taught to drive safely, but at some point or another, we make a conscious decision not to drive safe and the consequences are deadly.”