Florida population

More drivers, more accidents; FHP needs more soldiers

FRUITVILLE, Fla. — Day after day, ABC-7 reports of fatal crashes happening on The Suncoast, and it’s not just vehicle-to-vehicle crashes.

“Without a doubt, we have seen an increase in the number of accidents involving what we call vulnerable road users: people on bicycles or on foot,” said Rider Kenn Watson.

He’s a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol, and he says his job is getting harder and harder.

The most recent data from the Florida Department of Health indicates that in 2020 there were 3,484 accidental deaths in our state.

63 of those deaths occurred in Manatee County, as did 57 in Sarasota County.

FHP is constantly working to try to keep up with all this new traffic.

“Over the past two years, you’ve seen an increase in people wanting to move to Florida,” Watson said.

Nearly 22 million people live in our state. On top of that population, Private Watson says nearly 80 million more people visit each year.

“That means if everyone came as a couple, you’d have 40 million more cars on the highway,” he said.

There are tens of millions of cars in 67 counties.

FHP needs more manpower to monitor these busy roads.

Watson said: “It’s not a job, it’s a career. It’s something you can do for the next 25 to 30 years.

As of Friday, the agency had nearly 200 open positions. {vacancies: add link to https://beatrooper.com/apply-now/ }

It offers full-time positions with full benefits.

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