ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Highway Patrol says they’ve responded to more fatal crashes this year than ever before in Orange County.
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So far, FHP says they’ve investigated 135 fatal accidents in Orange County alone, surpassing the record of 128 set in 2018.
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“Our traffic homicide investigators are tapped out,” FHP Lieutenant Kim Montes said. “Each investigator has upward to 24 fatal crashes that they’re investigating. Typically, they only have between 12 and 15.”
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With a month left to go, Montes says they’re expecting that trend to continue. She says a disturbing number of those crashes have been hit and runs.
“Right now, we have 21 fatal hit and run crashes in Orange County alone for the year, which is huge that 21 people decided to leave the scene of a fatal crash and leave somebody to die,” Montes said. “What it comes down to is that we are seeing more aggressive driving, more bad driving, and more careless driving from drivers, and that’s what’s causing these crashes.”
Montes says instances of people driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances have also increased.
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The Central Florida Chapter of “Mothers Against Drunk Driving” has recorded 234 crashes involving impaired drivers in Orange County this year in which 38 people have died and nearly 150 were injured.
MADD Executive Director Dan Marquith says he believes the emergence from the coronavirus pandemic may be to blame.
“What we’re seeing is things are opening back up…Orlando is open for business,” Marquith said. “We have all these folks coming in, these transient guests coming to the Central Florida region. That’s going to increase pedestrians. It’s going to increase cashes just with the overall volume of vehicles on the roadway.”
To help cut down on fatal crashes, FHP says their troopers will be out on Central Florida roads patrolling every day to try to curb the loss of life.
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They’re asking anyone who witnesses aggressive driving to report it by dialing Star FHP (*347).
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Cox Media Group