St. Johns County: Beware of your morning commute

Federal statistics find more than half of fatal crashes occur 7-10 a.m.

By Steve Patrick

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office photo of crash on I-95 the morning of Jan. 21, 2016.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The chance of dying in a vehicle crash in St. Johns County is higher from 7-10 a.m. than the entire rest of the day, according to an analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data of all fatal crashes between 2012 and 2016.

Percentage of fatal crashes that occur 7-10 a.m.

        

While Florida ranks among the safest states in percentage of fatal crashes during commuting hours, St. Johns County's 54.3 percent of fatal accidents occurring during the morning commute is the seventh highest of all counties in the nation.

The average rate of fatalities between 7-10 a.m. among all counties is 38 percent. Nationally, going home from work is nearly twice as deadly, with the average percentage of deaths between 4-7 p.m. at 62 percent.

Just over 24 percent of traffic deaths nationwide occur during non-commuting hours -- the other 18 hours of the day.

Injury Claim Coach did the analysis of the NHTSA data and also broke down fatal accident statistics by month of the year and day of the week. Morning commuting fatalities were highest in September, October, November and December, and Friday is the deadliest day for commuters in both mornings and evenings.

The data was released to help drivers understand the risks of driving during some of the busiest hours.

It's more than just the number of people on the roads during rush hour. Other studies have found that drivers headed to and from work could be more distracted than off-hour commuters. In 2015, distracted driving was responsible for more than 3,400 fatalities and 391,000 injuries.

According to the CDC, nine people die every day as a result of crashes involving distracted drivers, and you can travel the length of a football field in the five seconds it takes to pull your eyes off the road and look at a text message or notification.

According to the National Safety Council, nearly 40,000 people died on the road in 2016, making it the most lethal year since 2007.

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