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Orlando Injury Law Blog

AAA Predicts Increase in Thanksgiving Traffic This Year

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The AAA has predicted that there will be a slight increase in vehicular traffic this Thanksgiving, with approximately 39.1 million people expected to drive over the holiday. That is a 0.7% increase from the number of people who drove over the holiday last year.

The AAA expects 3.14 million people to take flights to their destinations this year. Overall, the AAA expects 42.6 million people to travel over Thanksgiving this year.

Those numbers are a steady improvement from back in 2008, when the economy was just beginning to tank, and there was widespread panic. That year, the number of people who traveled overall was just about 37.8 million people. Over the next couple of years, motoring traffic remained down, as people struggled to cope with rising costs, unemployment as well as high gas prices by cutting down on unnecessary or holiday travel.

Now, however, as the economy begins to recover, Orlando car accident lawyers expect an increase in travel, especially holiday travel and nonessential travel. That means more vehicles on the road.

This Thanksgiving, when there are more motorists in a hurry to reach their destination, it becomes even more imperative that people drive slowly, cautiously and avoid rash driving.

If you are among the thousands of motorists who will be driving across Florida this Thanksgiving, drive at low speeds, and drive defensively. With more motorists on the road, you cannot afford to be distracted. Switch off your cell phone and other electronic communication devices while driving. It goes without saying that you must avoid driving after having a few drinks, and stay at posted speed limits.

New Pedestrian Safety Initiative in Florida

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A new Florida pedestrian safety initiative aims at cutting down the number of pedestrians injured or killed in accidents across the state of Florida. The crackdown is called Operation Best Foot Forward, and is aimed at cutting at least 50% of pedestrian-related injuries and fatalities in Orlando and across Orange County over the next 5 years.

The Best Foot Forward initiative includes the participation of public safety officials, educators, engineers, civic leaders, pedestrian safety advocates, Florida transportation planners, as well as concerned citizens of the state of Florida. The aim of the initiative is to prevent pedestrian-related injuries and fatalities, and make Orlando and Orange County roads safer for pedestrians to use.

Across Florida, Orlando pedestrian accident lawyers have found a concerted effort to encourage walking as a mode of transportation, and Best Foot Forward wants to encourage more people to walk, while making sure that there's a safe environment for them to do so.

Apart from education and awareness, the initiative also includes stronger law-enforcement activity. Orange County police officers have been committed to cutting down unsafe walking practices by pedestrians as well as risky driving practices by motorists. Over the summer, the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Orlando Police Department issued more than 1,600 warnings to drivers who did not yield to pedestrians at a marked crosswalk.

If you are a driver, you must know this. Under Florida law, you are required to yield to pedestrians when you see them on a crosswalk. Slow down when you approach a pedestrian on a crosswalk, and look out for pedestrians, even when you're not near a crosswalk. Yield to pedestrians when you see them at intersections, even if you do not find any pavement markings.

Florida Highway Patrol Blames Motorists for Gainesville Motor Vehicle Accident.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Florida Highway Patrol has hit back against allegations that its negligence caused a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 75 in Gainesville, which killed 11 people. The accident, which caught nationwide attention, also injured more than 46 people.

The pileup occurred in January this year, and began one Sunday morning when several motorists began driving into heavy fog and smoke on Interstate 75. The vehicles began crashing into each other as the fog reduced visibility to zero.

The multi-vehicle accident included more than 25 vehicles, including several semi trucks. The scene on the stretch of highway where the pile-up occurred was one of pandemonium, as several vehicles crashed into existing wreckage's. At the end of the carnage, 11 people were dead.

Orlando car accident lawyers had plenty of criticism for the Florida Highway Patrol, especially its decision to reopen parts of Interstate 75, after evaluating the smoke and fog situation in the area. Now the Florida Highway Patrol has given its own version of events, and its version blames motorists for failing to slow down when they entered the fog.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, weather conditions on the morning of the accident were rapidly changing, and the weather could not be predicted with complete accuracy. A review of the events of that day, the agency says, has found that the officers who made the decision to open up parts of the highway, acted reasonably.

The Florida Highway Patrol also claims that response personnel from the agency continued to travel through the Interstate every 10 minutes to evaluate the situation. They found that there was no deterioration of the foggy conditions that necessitated the closing down of the interstate. However, soon after, the crash occurred.

Study to Focus on Effectiveness of EOBRs in Preventing Accidents

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A new study that has just been commissioned by the federal administration will focus on whether electronic onboard recorders or EOBRs are effective in helping reducing the incidence of driver fatigue, and preventing truck accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a grant to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for the study. The study will analyze data from the Department of Transportation, in order to determine whether electronic onboard recorders have the kind of safety benefits that supporters claim.

Specifically, the researchers will analyze crashes involving trucks that were equipped with EOBRs, compared to those that were not. The study will also focus on the costs of these devices, as well as current usage around the country. Orlando trucking accident attorneys have supported the use of these devices in cases involving truckers who have had issues sticking to the work hour restrictions.

The federal administration is on a course to mandate electronic onboard recorders, and a transportation safety funding bill that was recently passed by Congress, includes provisions for this. However, the provision has been controversial, with many lawmakers expressing their opposition to it. Many lawmakers do not believe that electronic onboard recorders are the solution for issues involving truckers driving beyond the hours of service limitations.

The Owner - Operator Independent Drivers Association has been especially critical of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s attempts to mandate electronic onboard recorders for the entire trucking industry. Those efforts are expected to cost as much as $2 billion, and the Owner - Operator Independent Drivers Association says that it cannot meet those expenses. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration believes that the $2 billion may be an overestimated figure. The agency believes that the cost of electronic onboard recorders has come down since the agency made that estimate. In fact, the agency has been looking at ways of reducing the costs to make the devices more affordable.

Florida Analysis Proves Red Light Cameras Prevent Accidents

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An analysis of red light camera systems in Hillsborough County indicates to Orlando car accident lawyers that the system has helped prevent accidents, leading to more than $100,000 in savings for the County officials. The analysis was conducted by the American Traffic Solutions website, which analyzes light camera systems at the intersection of camera Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road.

American Traffic Solutions has installed more than 3,000 such camera systems around the country. The group analyzed a number of red light camera systems around the country, and conducted a cost-benefit analysis of these systems.

The study found that in Hillsborough County, Florida, in 2011, the red light camera systems led to savings of as much as $175,604 at the Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road intersection. By the end of 2012, the same camera system is expected to save the county another $166,847. The analysis also found that by the year 2015, this camera system will save the county $795,337.

The savings come from a reduced rate of accidents involving drivers who comply with red light rules when they know an intersection has a red light camera. Red light camera violations are some of the most serious violations, and contribute to deadly accidents called broad-siding accidents. In these accidents, a motorist who runs a red light hits the side of another vehicle, leading to serious side-impact injuries. Passengers, who are involved in such side-impact accidents, can suffer devastating injuries because of the lack of protection against severe impact.

The red light camera systems also have great law enforcement benefits, allowing Sheriff’s deputies to be assigned to other law enforcement activities, thereby also saving money for the county.

Florida Reports Increase in Motorcycle Accident Fatalities

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Florida transportation agencies must analyze the reasons for a disturbing increase in motorcycle accident fatalities in the state last year. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, there was actually an increase in the number of these fatalities last year. During the first 6 months of 2010, there were 205 motorcycle accident deaths in the state of Florida, and that number increased to 215 deaths in the first 6 months of 2011. When you analyze the data for the first 9 months of last year, you find that there were 303 fatalities in 2011, compared to 292 the previous year during the same period of time.

Overall, there has been no change in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities across the United States. These are preliminary statistics, but the final numbers are expected to indicate more or less the same number of motorcycle accident fatalities as last year.

It's time for Florida transportation safety authorities to take a closer look at those statistics, and find out why progress made in reducing the fatality toll in the state was reversed last year. Over the past couple of years, Florida motorcycle accident attorneys have seen a slight decline in motorcycle accident fatalities, as the recession swept in, and dampened motorcycling enthusiasm. During the recession, fewer motorcycles were sold, and fewer motorcyclists wanted to bike recreationally.

The Governors Highway Safety Association warns that as the economy improves, and more motorcyclists take to the streets, we will likely see a further increase in fatality rates. A greater focus on motorcycle safety awareness among motorists, reducing DUI and distracted driving, and encouraging motorcycle helmet use would go a long way in helping reduce the fatality numbers in Florida.

I-95 Most Dangerous Area for Truck Rollover Accidents in Florida

Monday, May 21, 2012

Interstate 95 and Interstate 10 are the 2 most truck rollover accident-prone areas in Florida, and accounted for 14 rollover accidents during the past decade. That information comes via a study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute.

The Institute has generated a list of the most truck rollover accident-prone areas in the United States. In Florida, there were a total of 2,596 rollover accidents involving large commercial trucks and tractor trailers between 2001 and 2009. Out of these, 135 rollover accidents were fatal. The remaining 2461 accidents resulted in injuries.

The most dangerous area for truck rollovers seem to be Interstate 95 and Interstate 10, followed by the Florida Turnpike and US 27, where there were a total of 11 truck rollover accidents during the same period of time. Interstate 95 and Interstate 4 had 10 rollover accidents, during this period of time and US 27 at SR 29 saw 8 rollover accidents over the same period of time.

The other accident-prone magnets in Florida included S Bermuda Boulevard, Florida Turnpike and I-595, I-95 at Exit 38 A, Interstate 10 and US 90, US 17 and Interstate 75. The lowest number of truck accident rollovers occurred at Interstate 95 Exit 83, Donald Ross Road where there were 6 rollover accidents during the same period of time.

Truck rollover accidents are some of the most devastating accidents that Orlando truck accident attorneys see, although they comprise a small percentage of the number of 18-wheeler accidents in the US every year. These accidents can be devastating not just for the truck driver, but also the passenger vehicles in the vicinity.Many truck rollover accidents that occur in Florida involve vehicles carrying hazardous materials. There may be serious risks of environmental damage and chemical exposure when a tanker truck containing hazardous material is involved in a truck rollover.

Many of these rollovers can be averted if all tanker trucks come with electronic stability control systems, but the federal administration has failed to make these devices mandatory in all tanker trucks.

24% of All Auto Accidents Involve Cell Phone Use While Driving

Monday, April 30, 2012

A new study indicates to Florida car accident lawyers exactly how important it is for the state to have some kind of law that will ban the use of cell phones while driving for all motorists.  Florida currently has no law that bans motorists from sending or receiving text messages while driving or using a cell phone while driving.  According to a new report by the National Safety Council, approximately a quarter of all accidents can be linked to motorists using a cell phone while driving.

 

The report says that 24% of all auto accidents can be linked to persons using cell phones while driving.  Those are scary numbers, especially in a state like Florida that has failed to take proper steps to prevent such reckless behavior by drivers.

 

The report titled State of the Nation of Cell Phone Distracted Driving, finds that cell phone use which includes both handheld as well as hands-free cell phone use contributes to about 1 million accidents every year.  That works out to approximately 21% of all accidents.  Another 3% of accidents every year are linked to motorists using text messaging devices.

 

Orlando car accident attorneys fear that the problem is even greater than the report mentions.  We simply do not have strong criteria by which to measure the amount of distraction that can cause an accident.  Also, many drivers choose to leave out the fact that they were using a cell phone while driving, when they are involved in an accident.  There are rarely witnesses to these accidents.  As a result, these accidents are under reported.

Using a cell phone while driving is not the most distracting thing that you could do while driving.  You could be distracted by other behaviors like talking with your passengers, or even snacking while driving.  However, if you are having a conversation with someone on a cell phone, most of your attention is focused on the conversation and not on driving, amplifying your accident risks.

Florida Motorcycle Accident Raises Questions about Senior Drivers

Monday, April 09, 2012

Earlier this month, an Apollo Beach motorcyclist suffered serious injuries in an accident involving a car being operated by a senior motorist. That motorist was 100 years old. The motorist had never been involved in an accident before, but this accident has once again caused Orlando motorcycle accident attorneys to raise questions about the wisdom of allowing driving privileges for people of a certain age.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the state currently has about 455 licensed motorists who are above the age of 100. There are 39 of these motorists in Pinellas County, 22 in Pasco, 16 in Hillsborough and 4 in Hernando County.

That is just the motorists who are aged 100 and above. The number of licensed motorists between 91 and 100 years in Florida is about 65,000.

Florida has some of the highest numbers of senior drivers in the US because of its reputation as a retirement hub. Seniors get a lot of bad rep for their driving skills. However, the fact is that senior drivers above the age of 90 account for some of the fewest accidents in the state.

These motorists have some of the lowest crash rates in Florida. In the 15 to 19 year age demographic, there are about 364 accidents for every 10,000 licensed drivers. However, in the above-90 age demographic, there are just 79 accidents for every 10,000 licensed motorists.

However, those facts are not sufficient to placate the family of the motorcyclist who was seriously injured in this particular senior driver-related accident. They're calling for driving tests to determine whether a senior is able to drive, before his or her driver’s license is renewed. Currently, the law only requires senior drivers to submit to a vision test every 6 years.

Efforts to Minimize Speeding, Aggressive Driving-Related Accidents in Florida This Summer

Sunday, March 25, 2012

With spring here and summer just a few weeks away, Orlando car accident lawyers expect a spike in vehicular traffic and accident risks across the state. The Florida Highway Patrol is increasing efforts to prevent accidents related to speeding and aggressive driving.

The Florida Highway Patrol is dedicating the week from March 30 to April 4 to a campaign focused on increasing awareness about the risks of aggressive driving. The aim is to ticket drivers who drive at excessive speeds, change lanes rashly, and follow larger vehicles like 18-wheelers too closely. The agency is having more troopers stationed at South Florida's busiest highways and roadways, to ticket motorists who drive aggressively.

The Florida Highway Patrol has also announced that it is partnering with the Florida Trucking Association in a special initiative aimed at encouraging motorists to avoid the blind spots of a commercial tractor-trailer. Every commercial tractor-trailer driver has a few blind spots in his vision. These spots usually fall to the sides and rear of the truck. Motorists traveling in these blind spots may be invisible to the tractor-trailer driver. That means that the motorist is at a high risk of colliding with the truck.

The Florida Highway Patrol-Florida Trucking Association’s No-Zone Campaign encourages motorists to avoid these blind spots. The campaign is also raising awareness about the need for motorists to avoid driving too close to tractor-trailers. The agency plans billboard campaigns as well as radio spots to get the message out. Similar education efforts will be made at schools and community centers.

Over the next few weeks, there will be more motorists than usual sharing the road with you. Avoid driving under the influence, and using cell phones while driving. Drive at safe speeds. Speeding is linked to at least 1/3rd of all accident fatalities every year.



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