Effect of FHP Shortage on Public Safety

Representing Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Nearby Areas of Florida

It was recently reported that there are 200 vacant Florida Highway Patrol trooper positions statewide. In fact, at the time of the 70 car pile-up on Interstate 4 in Polk County, there were only two troopers patrolling Polk County, which is roughly the size of the entire state of Delaware. This shortage not only diminishes the physical presence of visible cruisers, but it also likely decreases the existing troopers abilities to adequately investigate accidents.


The physical presence of FHP troopers on the highways is the single most effective means of encouraging motorists compliance with speed limits, for example. Speed kills. We’ve all been driving on interstates and toll roads in Florida at the speed limit, only to be passed like we were sitting still. The faster a motorist is traveling, the less reaction time they have to respond to sudden dangers, like the fog and smoke that enveloped I-4 in Polk County.

Florida troopers are respected, dedicated, skilled, professionals. But lets face it. They are being asked to do the impossible. And investigation of accidents, particularly traffic deaths, which require time intensive and detailed investigation and coordination with other law enforcement arms, such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, are likely not getting the attention and detail necessary for adequate determination of the cause of accidents.

If you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident and the accident report doesn’t adequately or accurately represent what occurred, you should know an accident report is generally not evidence in a civil lawsuit, as it merely represents the opinion of the investigating officer. It is the witnesses to the accident and the physical evidence at the scene that a jury is asked to assess when assigning fault for an accident. Some witnesses may not be listed on the accident report. Critical witnesses may have never even spoken to the investigating officer who is often pressed for time and perhaps even needed at yet another accident scene.

n the unfortunate event of an accident, the sooner you retain an attorney to investigate your accident independently, the less likely a poor investigation will harm your legal rights. So, don’t wait to retain legal counsel. Time is precious and evidence disappears and the memory of witnesses grows stale. Call the experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at CGWC if you are involved in an accident, and protect your legal rights.