INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Last year proved to be the most deadly year on the roadways of Indian River County in more than a decade.
Reports show 32 people died in 29 crashes between January and December.
“Not a positive thing to be on a top list, the fact we’ve had so many deaths associated with crashes here in Indian River County,” said Major Eric Flowers with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
Indian River County also topped the Treasure Coast in the number of motorcycle deaths.
“We did have eight deaths, four were not wearing helmets,” Flowers said.
Across the Treasure Coast, fatalities were common on busier roadways such as US 1, or Interstate 95.
Some of the crashes, Flowers said, could be attributed to construction along I-95.
“Tragically on 95, when there are construction projects there’s almost always death associated with it whether it’s workers or drivers,” Flowers said.
“I-95 in Indian River County was under construction for the last several years, and we do know that was a deadly piece of 95. So, we’re very happy the DOT has completed that project now, and hope in 2019 and going forward we’ll see less deaths.”
Drivers like Tom Senker are also glad to see the construction has wrapped up.
“Construction certainly does bring some bottlenecking,” Senker said.
While Flowers is not sure how many are attributed to distracted driving, he says it is safe to assume some are a result of drivers not paying attention on the road.
“I see too much wavering, weaving in and out of lanes,” Senker said.
Flowers said the latest crash numbers will back up the sheriff’s office’s continued support of tougher distracted driving laws in the state, working with the Florida Sheriff’s Association. Flowers would like to see texting while driving become a primary traffic offense.
“We hope that the legislature will make this a priority after seeing so many deaths associated with distracted driving.”
Even with the deadly crashes rising this year, Flowers says for the first year in our country, you’re more likely to die from an opioid overdose than in a car crash.
St. Lucie County saw 39 deaths from car crashes in 2018.
Martin County saw 28 traffic deaths.