There are few fatalities, but the city averages about three wrecks a day.
Ormond Beach was recognized recently as being the 10th safest city in Florida in regard to traffic fatalities for the year 2014, when the city had two fatal accidents.
The rankings were by ConsumerAffairs, a consumer news and advocacy organization. The rankings were based on a ratio of fatalities per population, so small and large communities could be compared. (Visit consumeraffairs.com).
To see the complete list, visit https://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/car.html#safest-drivers-overal....
There were five fatalities in Port Orange in 2014, and that city is ranked number 35. South Daytona was ranked 26; Orlando, 80; and Daytona Beach, 121.
Ormond Beach has its share of accidents, however. In the past five years, there were 5,624 accidents in the city (including crashes in parking lots).
There were four fatalities in Ormond Beach in 2015.
Nearly 33,000 Americans died in car crashes in 2014, according to AAA. Preliminary estimates project a 9% increase in deaths for 2015, according to the agency.
Jay Fleischbein, a resident of South Beach Street, said he has seen many accidents over the 35 years he has lived on the two-lane road that weaves between palm and oak trees. He said when he walks along the road, he often sees car parts, such as mirrors, lying in the street.
He said he would like to see police checking cars for speeding by radar on the road.
There were 36 accidents on South Beach Street in the last five years, and 47 accidents on North Beach Street.
Limiting the speed
Beach Street is a county road, with a 25 mph limit in Holly Hill, and a 35 mph limit in Ormond Beach. Ormond Beach Assistant City Manager Ted McLeod said the city of Holly Hill may have petitioned the county to lower the speed limit on their section of the road.
There are many factors considered when a municipality sets a speed limit, and the process is guided by state statutes. One of the guidelines is to set the limit at the speed 85% of drivers travel on the roadway.
“Most people drive according to the conditions,” McLeod said. “You could make it 40 on the freeway but nobody is going to drive 40.”
If speeding is suspected on a street, police first monitor the traffic. If speeding turns out to be a problem, they have an “education” phase that includes warnings and then an enforcement phase is launched if necessary.
Officials say Beach Street has been monitored in the past.
Ormond Beach Police Captain Jesse Godfrey remembers when things were different before cell phones. If he was behind a person weaving out of their lane, or not moving even after a light turned green, he was sure it was because they were impaired in some way, by either alcohol or drugs.
Now, it could be the result of texting or other usage of an electronic device. He recalls one driver who was driving erratically, so he pulled him over.
“I walked up to his car and he was ordering football tickets on his phone,” Godfrey said.
Under current law, texting while driving is a secondary offense, and a person can only be charged if pulled over for another reason. This was the way it was with seatbelts for a long time, until the state legislature made not wearing a seat belt a primary offense, meaning that a person can be pulled over for not wearing one.
About 87 percent of drivers across the nation engaged in at least one risky behavior while behind the wheel within the past month, according to information released recently by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. These unsafe behaviors include driving while distracted, impaired, drowsy, speeding, running red lights or not wearing a seat belt.