Q&A: Traffic fatalities, '47 percent' video

Florida traffic fatalities

It seems like we have traffic fatalities every day in this area. Are the number of fatalities going up?

It may seem like the number of traffic fatalities in the area and state is going up, with almost seven fatalities recorded every day on Florida roads. But the long-term statistics suggest otherwise.

According to figures from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the total number of traffic fatalities (in vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents) has trended downward from 1990-2012, when the most recent statistics were compiled.

Statewide, the number of fatalities went from 2,951 in 1990 to 2,430 in 2012 — a decline of about 18 percent. But a more telling number is the rate of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, since it accounts for increases in the number of drivers and miles driven. That rate has been cut more than 50 percent from 1990 to 2012, from 2.68 fatalities per 100 million miles to 1.27.

Hillsborough County has seen the greatest improvement in the metro area, declining from 227 fatalities in 1996 to 178 in 2012, a drop of about 22 percent.

Pinellas has gone from 95 in 1990 to 122 in 1995 and 2000, 107 in 2005, 96 in 2010 and 99 in 2012.

Pasco County had 78 fatalities in 1990, 67 in 1995, 81 in 2000, 83 in 2005, 75 in 2010 and 74 in 2012.

Hernando had 19 in 1990, 17 in 1995, 27 in 2000, 31 in 2005, 28 in 2010 and 24 in 2012.

Citrus went from 29 in 1990 to 19 in 2012, and Manatee from 40 in 1990 to 49 in 2012.

The '47 percent' video

Isn't Jason Carter, Jimmy Carter's grandson who is running for Georgia's governor, the person who secretly recorded a video of Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" comments? I read that Jason Carter was pretending to be a waiter/server.

Scott Prouty, a bartender working for a catering company, filmed Romney during a fundraiser that was closed to the press in Boca Raton in May 2012. Prouty took his camera to the event in case Romney, who was a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, took pictures with the staff. Instead, Prouty filmed Romney making the speech, but said he waited two weeks before anonymously posting the video.

James Carter IV, a grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and cousin of Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, a Democrat, found the video online and alerted a national magazine writer to it.

Prouty didn't publicly identify himself until March 2013, when he came forward in interviews with the Huffington Post and The Ed Show on MSNBC. "I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn't sleep after I watched it," Prouty said on The Ed Show. "I felt like I had a duty to expose it."

Jason Carter is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia this year.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email answers@tampabay.com.

Q&A: Traffic fatalities, '47 percent' video 02/06/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 10:37am]

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