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Early one morning in November 2014, a popular 17-year-old senior left her South Carolina home – and never returned. Her family didn’t know where she was headed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, and they don’t know why she didn’t follow the highway’s sharp curve. What they can say with some certainty is that had a guardrail been positioned around that curve, she may not have careened off the road, down an embankment and head-on into a cluster of trees. guardrail

She died on the scene of blunt force trauma to her head. Her family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state’s Department of Transportation, alleging the agency was negligent in failing to erect a guardrail that could have saved her life.

Authorities with the state declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, which accuses officials with the agency of knowing a guardrail was needed, but failing to act. Coincidentally, the family’s lawsuit was filed the same week as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  Continue reading →

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The family of a 58-year-old grandmother who died in a crash last month has filed a civil injury lawsuit against the 40-year-old driver, a principle at a local high school. They are seeking justice in a case where it seems apparent the at-fault driver won’t face criminal charges for allegedly driving drunk. beer

The case is an odd one that started when a 5,000-pound truck fell from the sky and on top of the victim’s sport utility vehicle. The mother of four and grandmother of two was traveling home on the highway when the Ford F-150 truck crushed her SUV. The truck was driven by a 40-year-old high school principle. He reportedly struck an impact barrier with such force that it lifted the truck off the ground and made it go airborne, according to Fox News Latino. Defendant and his passengers walked away relatively unscathed with only minor lacerations and bruising.

Police did not charge defendant with DUI. He admitted to investigating officers he’d just left a local tavern, where he’d been with friends. He declined to undergo a breathalyzer test and he refused to undergo a sobriety test. However, at least two officers on scene said he didn’t appear to be drunk. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer is illegal in Florida due to implied consent laws, but police can’t force anyone to breathe into a machine. Per a U.S. Supreme Court decision (Missouri v. McNeely), police would have to seek a warrant to conduct a blood draw, but they would need probable cause. A prosecutor called to assess the situation found there was not enough probable cause to ask a judge to force defendant to submit a drug sample.  Continue reading →

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A fatal car accident killed both their parents and their 90-year-old grandmother. Three of the four sisters had been in the car at the time of the collision, headed to a family reunion in Texas. They were seriously injured, but survived. carinterior

It wasn’t long after the crash that questions started to arise about what had happened and why. Specifically, what was going on with the airbags and why didn’t they deploy? As the Star-Telegram reports, the family was traveling in a Kia Sedona minivan. They were struck head-on by a Pontiac Bonneville when the driver crossed the center line while traveling on U.S. 67. The oldest sister was working and not traveling to the reunion with them that day.

Recovering from physical and emotional injuries, the sisters allege the local car dealership disconnected the fuse to the airbag system. In a lawsuit filed two years ago, the sisters say that when the dealership removed the cable from the deployment sensor, they also fraudulently replaced the seat sensor. The pre-owned vehicle dealership sold the deceased parents the van at one of its discount lots. Plaintiffs say the dealership employees’ actions caused the injuries and deaths in the crash. They do not allege defendants caused the crash, but rather that the injuries sustained were much more severe than they otherwise would have been.  Continue reading →

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A Texas woman sped down a Texas highway in her pickup truck, scrolling through her iPhone for messages. She was so distracted, court records would later show, that she slammed her truck into a sport utility vehicle. The driver and front seat passenger died instantly. A child passenger in the back seat was left permanently paralyzed. That was in

These kinds of distracted driving accidents are sadly not all that unusual. However, they are preventable – and not just by the person behind the wheel. A lawsuit filed against Apple in this case alleges the cell phone company had the technology prior to this accident to stop drivers from accessing their phones while the car is in motion. What’s more, the product liability lawsuit alleges, the company, in its application for a patent on that technology, cited the fact that phones are used for texting and texting and driving is a major public health issue and state legislators and local law enforcement officials had not been able to get a handle on the matter.

The driver in this case was later convicted of negligent homicide. She is serving five years on probation. Meanwhile, the families of her victims want accountability. They want to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to another family. But what are the chances they might actually succeed? What responsibility do cell phone companies have for the actions of their driving customers?  Continue reading →

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Authorities in Delray Beach are investigating an intersection crash at Federal Highway and Northeast First Street, where a fitness club mogul in a Lamborghini t-boned an 82-year-old Uber driver in a Buick. Investigators believe speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, according to the Orlando Sentinel.crosswalk1

But what if those two vehicles never needed to cross paths? This is the theory behind the traffic re-engineering proposed by Florida Department of Transportation. Although we typically think of “advancements” in travel these days as being technological or electronic, this has to do with good old-fashioned road design. It’s called the, “diverging diamond interchange,” or DDI.

The goal of this design is to not only reduce the amount of potentially hazardous left turns, but also to make it tougher to enter a highway on-ramp traveling the wrong direction. Continue reading →

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Although the distracted driving problem appears to have remained steady from 2014 to 2015, researchers with the NHTSA say there is one area of concern: Young drivers who visibly manipulate their electronic devices.phone1

That’s according to the latest research by federal analysts with the traffic safety administration, which reaches conclusions based on researcher traffic counts, as well as anonymous driver surveys. Analysts physically sat at intersections across the country and observed and recorded driver behavior for 11 hours at a time. Researchers looked to see whether there were visibly manipulating their phones, talking on visible headsets or holding phones to their ears. They also cross-compared this data with the surveys and scaled the data to a national level.

What they discovered is that while overall, the texting-and-driving/ visible manipulation of electronic devices fell slightly (2.2 percent, a statistically insignificant amount), there was an increase of .5 percent total. In fact, 5 percent of those 16 to 24 were seen doing this, as were 2.1 percent of those 25 to 69. This might not seem like a lot but consider another figure: The rate of drivers holding phones to their ears. That fell from 4.3 percent in 2014 to 3.8 percent in 2015. That sounds like good news, until you consider that this still means 542,000 passenger vehicles were being driven by someone using a handheld cell phone at any given moment of a typical day in 2015. That’s alarming.  Continue reading →

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The voice on the line was that of a retired police officer who had come across many accident scenes in his career. But in that 911 call to dispatch at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, that voice, although clearly and succinctly describing the situation, revealed the sheer awfulness of it.teens

“We have people trapped in the car unconscious. We’re trying to get the door open. I have one, two people in the back seat unconscious. It’s pretty bad.”

By the time active duty emergency crews arrived, they would find one of four teens inside that vehicle, an 18-year-old recent Nease High School graduate, was dead. Five others – including two 18-year-old sisters (two in a set of identical triplets) – were seriously injured. Additionally, two others in another vehicle – a 20-year-old driver and his 19-year-old passenger – were seriously injured as well. Three of the teens injured are high school students, including the two sisters. According to a GoFundMe page for the sisters, they face “a long recovery.” The decedent, according to his obituary, had been studying computer engineering at the University of Central Florida. Continue reading →

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The term “non-traffic motor vehicle crashes” is one of those clunky ones mostly used by regulators and policy wonks, but it’s one that should capture everyone’s attention because it’s a serious and ongoing, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). caringarage

If you’ve never heard the term, you’re not alone, though you’ve likely heard of the incidents to which it refers. Non-traffic motor vehicle crashes are a type of crash that occurs off a public traffic way. Those may include:

  • Single vehicle crashes on private roads
  • Two-vehicle crashes in parking lots or parking garages
  • Collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists in driveways

In addition to these, there are also “non-traffic incidents,” which might include things like a person falling underneath a vehicle or someone falling victim to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.  Continue reading →

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Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, 89, has been accused of colliding with a bicyclist deliveryman on the Upper East Side recently, causing the cyclist to suffer a broken ankle.bicycleincity

Dinkins was not arrested for hit-and-run, but the 31-year-old cyclist, who says he’s been unable to return to his restaurant job since the accident, is suing Dinkins for personal injury. According to The New York Daily News, the cyclist had just finished making a delivery and was returning to his employer when he stopped at an intersection to make a left turn. Dinkins was reportedly traveling in the opposite direction and clipped the cyclist’s bike, according to reports.

An eyewitness to the incident saw the bike spin 180 degrees and was alert enough to take note of the license plate of the car. This was around noon on June 30th. They tracked the vehicle to the former mayor, who lives nearby. Continue reading →

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The mother of a child left paralyzed, brain damaged and forever scarred has filed a lawsuit against not just the man who was driving drunk that night, but also against the two bars that served him that night. beerhand

This lawsuit, filed separately from the three others brought by the estates of three persons killed in the drunk driving crash that night, alleges the driver downed 13 beers – plus a free shot of liquor – at two bars in the hours before the crash. At just 26, he worked as an assistant baseball coach at Anderson University in South Carolina. But that night, instead of guiding youths to greatness, his actions ended the lives of three young people, a 17-year-old girl, a 20-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. That same recklessness nearly claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl, and probably would have had it not been for the quick and brave actions of a sheriff’s deputy with paramedic training who was first on scene. He found a faint trace of life, and gave her an emergency tracheotomy, right there on the scene.

Now, according to The State newspaper, that defendant has been convicted of numerous felonies relating to his actions that night. The young girl whose life was saved? She is now 13 and requires around-the-clock medical care. Her mother is now seeking justice from the business establishments she say should have known better than to continue serving the defendant driver alcohol, knowing he was clearly already drunk.  Continue reading →

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