Orlando Injury Law Blog

Florida Testing New System to Prevent Wrong Way Driving Accidents

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Wrong way driving accidents are some of the most devastating accidents in impact, and very often result in injuries and fatalities. The state of Florida will soon begin an experiment aimed at helping reduce the risk of such accidents. The experiment is based on a simple system that will use solar-powered flashing lights and other related devices, to warn traffic management authorities of a wrong way driver on a highway.

The high-tech plan is targeted at helping reduce the risk of wrong way accidents on the Florida Turnpike and Sawgrass Expressway. The system consists of flashing signs that alert wrong way drivers about the fact that they're heading in the wrong direction. Simultaneously, alerts will also be sent to local authorities to inform them about the presence of the wrong way driver. These devices will be installed in 15 locations on the Florida Pike and Sawgrass Expressway.

The system is based on the use of solar power, radar systems as well as cameras, and these systems will record images and location data of the wrong way driver. The radar system will identify when a vehicle is driving in the wrong direction, and it will activate the solar-powered LED lights on the sign to warn the motorist. If the driver passes the sign, the data will then immediately be transmitted to the Florida traffic management system as well as the Florida Highway Patrol's command center.

The Florida Turnpike is being chosen as the location for this initiative because of the number of wrong way driving accidents that have occurred here. Between 2010 and 2012, there were 24 wrong way driving-related accidents along the Turnpike. This initiative is the result of a project that was kick started by the Florida Department of Transportation last year.

Alcohol Use Could Increase Accident Risks for Senior Motorists

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The spotlight on driving under the influence of alcohol very often tends to focus on younger teenage drivers, because of widespread alcohol use in this population. However, the actual influence of alcohol on a person’s driving abilities may be much more acute in the case of senior motorists.

According to a new study, even moderate amounts of alcohol use by senior drivers can affect driving abilities. For example, a simple glass of wine may not have a very intoxicating effect on a 25-year-old, and a person who is driving with this amount of alcohol in his blood, is very unlikely to qualify as “legally intoxicated”. However, when that same glass of wine is being consumed by a senior motorist above the age of 60, there are likely to be considerable effects on his driving capacities. In fact, senior motorists, who are driving even with such small amounts of alcohol in their blood, could be at a high risk of accidents injuring themselves and others.

The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Florida, who wanted to see how drinking small amounts of alcohol impaired driving abilities of seniors. There were two groups of people analyzed as part of the study. One consisted of persons in the 25 to 35 age group, and the other consisted of persons in the 55 to 70 age group. There were 36 people analyzed in each of these groups.

The researchers found that while neither group had drunk enough number of alcoholic beverages to qualify as being legally intoxicated, older drivers seemed to have their driving abilities impacted by just one drink.

In fact, the researchers are actually calling for a re-evaluation of blood-alcohol levels for all drivers. A senior who is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or above, which is the maximum permissible level, could be at a much higher danger of being involved in an accident, compared to younger motorists who can more easily tolerate alcohol.

Florida Continues Poor Performance in Driving Safety

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The state of Florida ranked at the bottom of the list in a study that focuses on driving safety state-wise, specifically on states’ implementations of several traffic safety laws aimed at preventing auto accidents.

The results released by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety state that in 2013, Florida ranked at the bottom of the heap with a total of just six of the required laws implemented in the state. The study was based on whether states have implemented 15 essential traffic safety laws that include everything from seatbelt use and teen driving safety to drunk driving.

Florida, according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, has only six of the laws that are recommended by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Some of those missing laws that the group would like to see are laws requiring primary enforcement for all seats, all-rider helmet laws, ignition interlock laws, and booster seat laws. Florida also does not have a ban on text messaging while driving for all drivers, and also does not have 4 out of 7 essential teen driving rules.

States were color coded and rated based on the number of laws implemented. Green states were those that had managed to implement 11 of the laws, including primary enforcement seat belt laws for front seat passengers as well as backseat passengers, or nine or more laws, including primary enforcement seat belt laws for both front and back seat passengers and all-rider helmet laws. Red states were those that had fallen dangerously behind in adopting the recommended optimal traffic safety laws.

Florida transportation safety agencies need to wake up and see that motorists in the state continue to remain at risk of injuries and fatalities, because of the state’s failure to enact these important laws.

Chronic Neck Pain Common after Car Accidents

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Motorists in Orlando who have been involved in a car accident, especially a rear-ender accident, may continue to suffer from chronic pain that lasts for weeks and months after the accident. According to the results of a new study, it is fairly common to find consistent pain in persons who have been involved in an accident.

The study was conducted by scientists at the University Of North Carolina School of Medicine, and is believed to be the first large study that specifically evaluates musculoskeletal pain resulting from a car accident.

According to the researchers, every year, approximately 4 million Americans have to visit hospital emergency departments, for treatment after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. More than 90% of these persons are discharged back home after an evaluation. However, the study finds that chronic pain is common among these individuals.

Approximately 6 weeks after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, close to three quarters of the persons involved in an accident reported that they suffered from persistent musculoskeletal pain in one or more areas of the body. More than one-third of the participants reported that they suffered pain in four or more body regions.

What is also disturbing to Orlando car accident lawyers is that out of the 1148 persons enrolled in the study, only 17% had actually contacted a lawyer for litigation approximately 6 weeks after the accident. Among the individuals who were not planning to contact a lawyer or not planning to take action for compensation, 20% suffered from persistent moderate or severe neck pain, 13% had widespread musculoskeletal pain that could be seen in seven or more areas of the body, and 4% suffered from symptoms very similar to those of fibromyalgia.

Florida Fatal Accidents on the Decline

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Preliminary data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicate a decline in the number of fatal accidents occurring in the state this year compared to last year. So far this year, there have been 2,202 fatal accidents across the state. Last year, there were 2,313 fatal accidents during the same period.

According to the data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, some Florida counties are seeing an increase in the number of fatal accidents. For instance, in St Johns County, there were 29 fatal accidents in 2013, which was an increase of 12% from 2012. Duvall County also has one more fatal accident this year, an increase of 17% from the same time in 2012. There have been declines in fatal accidents in Nassau, Putnam and Clay Counties.

However, those are preliminary statistics, and until the official number of fatalities caused during the Christmas and New Year holidays come in, it is hard to say for sure that 2013 will have a higher fatality toll, compared to last year. Already, there have been several fatal accidents caused in these counties, with multiple fatalities in these accidents.

Typically, the week before Christmas is the most dangerous period of the year for highway safety with a lot of accidents, many of them fatal ones. Besides, the New Year's Eve is also a deadly holiday for Florida motorists, with higher rates of alcohol-heavy driving, and therefore more numbers of drunk driving accidents.

Further, the number of motorists not just in Florida, but across the country is likely to be heavy this year. According to estimates, approximately 5 million motorists will be travelling at least 50 miles away from home during these holidays. Higher volumes of traffic typically translate into a higher accident rate.

Motorcycle Pedestrian Fatalities Drive up 2012 Accident Toll

Friday, November 01, 2013

The number of traffic accident fatalities that occurred in 2012 was a significant increase over 2011, and increases in the number of people killed in motorcycle and pedestrian accidents, is being blamed for that increase.

In 2012, there were 33,561 traffic accident fatalities which was an increase of 1,802 fatalities over the previous year. Much of that increase was attributed to an increase in the number of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians killed in accidents. In those three categories alone, there were 9,426 fatalities in 2012. Florida saw an increase of 24 fatalities from 2011.

Last year also saw significant numbers of people being killed in alcohol-related car accidents. About 10,322 people were killed in accidents blamed on an impaired driver.

Last year's data also marks an increase in traffic accident fatalities for the first time since 2005. The increase in traffic accident fatalities could be due to the fact that more people are driving now, with the recovering economy.

However, there is hope. There is reason to believe that 2003 fatality numbers are on a downward trend, although it is far too early to make any predictions.

There is no denying the fact that there has been little progress in reducing the number of people killed in pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle accidents. These are some of the most vulnerable people on our roads, and over the years, there seems to have been little progress in helping ensure their safety. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities in pedestrian accidents and motorcycle accidents actually increased for the three third consecutive year in 2012.

The federal agency is already planning strategic measures to reduce the number of traffic accident fatalities. The feds plan to speed up a program that would encourage auto manufacturers to install seat belt interlock systems to encourage seat belt use.

NTSB Investigations Stalled Due to Government Shutdown

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The partial federal shutdown that is currently in effect has impeded a number of federal departments from functioning at 100%. One of the more serious impacts of the shutdown is likely to be the failure of the National Transportation Safety Board to begin investigations into major highway and industrial accidents.

It's only been a few days since the shutdown began, and the National Transportation Safety Board has already had to decline requests for investigations from several parts of the country. So far, the Board has confirmed that it has had to decline at least 13 accidents that have occurred since the shutdown was triggered. Those accidents include a fatal bus accident occurred in Tennessee, killing eight people. Other serious accidents that also required the National Transportation Safety Board investigations are a crude oil pipeline spill that occurred in North Dakota and a US drug interdiction plane crash in Colombia that ended in fatalities.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also put on hold at least two plane crash hearings, including one that had been planned for the month of November into the Asiana Airlines plane crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board chief is so frustrated at this turn of events, that she is calling on lawmakers to allow the Board to continue its critical safety functions. She has written to the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee, asking its members to allow the agency to continue with its investigations and fact-finding missions.

The National Transportation Safety Board usually investigates accidents around the country that have resulted in multiple fatalities. These investigations are very detailed, extensive and provide reasons for the accident, as well as recommendations to prevent such accidents in the future.

Florida Cities Rated Worst in America for Drivers

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

According to Allstate’s America's Best Drivers report for 2013, at least two Florida cities are some of the worst in the country for drivers. Miami and Hialeah were rated at the bottom of the list as being some of the worst cities in the country for motorists.

According to the report, the worst city for drivers in the country is Washington DC, where motorists have an average of 4.8 years between collisions. The average likelihood of a collision in this city is a staggering 109.3% higher than the national average. The national average between accidents is 10 years. In comparison, Miami drivers spend an average of just 6.3 years between accidents. The accident risk here is approximately 59.4% higher than the national average.

Motorists in Hialeah fare even worse. Here, they have just 5.6 years between accidents, and a collision likelihood that is 78.7% higher than the national average.

No Orlando car accident lawyer would be surprised by the fact that no Florida city features anywhere at the top of the list as being the best driving city in America.

Across the country, there has been a spike in the number of people being killed in traffic accidents. This increase in traffic accident fatalities, although very worrisome, is not really surprising. It is linked to an increase in the number of people involved in distracted driving accidents.

In 2012, there was an increase in the number of traffic accident fatalities in Florida, compared to the previous year. Florida continues to be among a handful of states that do not have laws against texting or cellphone use while driving. It's no wonder that our cities are ranked so poorly for highway safety.

In-Car Apps Allow Parents to Supervise Teen Driving

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Parents of teenage drivers now have a range of options that can help them track or monitor their children's driving behaviors via in-car apps. Many providers now can help parents monitor not just their teenage child at any given point in time, but also the speed of the car that he's driving, acceleration and braking habits, and even driving hours.

Orlando car accident lawyers believe that such parent control can be crucial in the case of teenage drivers who are inexperienced, and face far too many pressures that encourage dangerous driving. For instance, teenagers may be under pressure to drive at excessive speeds, or under the influence of alcohol, and may also face distractions from passengers.

It's very important for parents, therefore, to not just monitor their teenage child and find out where he is at any given point in time, but also monitor his driving habits. That includes not just monitoring his speeds and braking to make sure that these are safe levels, but also staying updated about driving habits through SMS text alerts.

Some app providers now allow parents to get an alert if the car goes outside predetermined boundaries that the parent has already set. Some of the most basic apps send out text message alerts to incoming mail or voice calls when the car is going at above 25 mph. If the person must make a call, he can manually turn off the app.

Other apps include cell phone blocking technologies while the car is in motion, that block a number of functions including texting, cell phone calls as well as camera and web access unless the motorist is wearing a headset.

12 Percent of All Red Light Violations Caused due to Distracted Driving

Friday, June 21, 2013

Inattention or distraction while driving can not only delay a person's response times, and slow down his reflexes, but it also increases a person's risk of running a red light. In fact, a new study finds that as many as 12% of all red light violations are the result of distracted driving.

The National Coalition commissioned the study for Safer Roads, and FocusDriven. The study looked at 118 intersections across 19 communities in the United States, which were all monitored and evaluated over a period of three months. All these intersections were equipped with red light camera systems.

On evaluating the camera images that were derived from these systems at these intersections, the researchers found that as many as 12% of the violations were the result of distractions. In fact, both of these organizations and their research claim that distracted driving could be responsible for as many as 7.3 million red light violations every year.

Red light violations typically lead to side impact accidents like broadside accidents, which result in very serious injuries to the occupants of the vehicle. That is because passengers may have very little protection from serious injuries when a vehicle from the side strikes them. Even with the existence of side airbags, these passengers may have a much higher risk of being killed or sustaining serious injuries in the accident.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also estimates that red light violations are a major cause of accidents across the country. It now appears that both red light violations and distracted driving are quite closely connected, and increase the risk of accidents for motorists. This only underscores the need for motorists to avoid using a cell phone for any purpose at any time behind the wheel.

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