A cyclist was found dead from an auto accident on Friday, August 28, in an auto accident which occurred shortly after midnight on State Road AIA in Fort Lauderdale. The Miami Herald reported that the cyclist was heading northbound when a Mercedes Benz, also headed northbound, collided with the cyclist.
Police had not released the man’s name because they had yet to notify the family. The cyclist was pronounced dead at Broward General Medical Center. Police continue to investigate whether the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident.
While driving under the influence is speculative in this case, it brings up a concern that Florida drivers are no stranger to. Concerns for drunk driving grow on holiday weekends, such as this weekend’s Labor Day. According to a study referred to in a previous blog entitled “Broward County auto accident puts eight in hospital”, last year there were 36 fatalities on Labor Day weekend, 12 of which were alcohol-related. That same study showed that, in 2008, there were 4,380 bicyclist injuries and 118 bicyclist fatalities in traffic accidents.
The Florida DMV calculates that, in 2006, there were 1,606 DUI convictions in Broward County and 1,824 convictions in Miami-Dade County. Statewide, there were 34,638 convictions. While this reflects an 8 percent decrease from 2005, the numbers are staggering.
However, Florida has enforced strict laws to crack down on drunk driving. Florida’s zero tolerance law enforces an automatic 6-month suspension for any driver under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol level (BAL) higher than .02. The level for drivers over 21 is .08. The effect is that a driver under 21 in Florida cannot have a single drink of alcohol and get into a vehicle.
With warnings of DUI road stops and increased police force during these weekends, and the risk of serious and fatal injury, drivers are encouraged to do all that is necessary to prevent from driving under the influence. The abundance of taxis in large South Florida cities such as Miami have given drivers a safe alternative. For others, choosing a designated driver or finding activities that don’t involve alcohol will ensure a safe ride home for ourselves and for others as we celebrate a great Labor Day weekend.