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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

In 2013, Anthony Waters nearly died while doing what he loves.

The 19-year-old UF microbiology sophomore said he was 16 when he turned his motorcycle on an Orlando road and a car slammed into him.

“I got hit right in the perfect spot, because an inch higher would be punctured lung and broken rib territory, and then an inch lower would be crushed stomach and intestines, and I would probably be living on a machine for I don’t know how long,” he said.

Motorcycle deaths in Florida increased more than 23 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to a recent press release from the American Automobile Association.

Of the 554 deaths in 2015, only two happened in Alachua County, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Nineteen counties had zero deaths, and Miami-Dade has the highest number of deaths at 56. The next highest numbers are 48 (Hillsborough) and 39 (Broward).

Each motorcycle death costs society about $1.5 million, according to the release. The estimate calculates factors such as lost productivity, legal fees and the cost of emergency services.

Waters said distracted drivers, especially those who use a phone while behind the wheel, are the biggest danger.

“I honestly see every single time I drive somebody on their phone or just plain out distracted,” he said.

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