Do Florida Laws Encourage Hit and Run Drivers?

May 31, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Hit-and-run collisions pose a significant risk to Florida’s pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. When a driver flees the scene, it is less likely that a victim will get necessary medical care. To make a medical condition work, some victims will suffer additional injuries after being struck and dragged by a vehicle. According to recent reports, South Florida, as well as Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando are some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians. The analysis was compiled by the National Complete Streets Coalition and discussed in a CBS 12 report.

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Pedestrian safety is a significant issue in South Florida and statewide. Due to the weather and number of state and federal highways, there are more pedestrians and a higher risk of accidents and injury. Florida not only has a high rate of pedestrian accidents, it also has a high rate of hit-and-run collisions. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are dedicated to representing the victims of hit-and-run accidents. We are also committed to raising awareness to prevent future accidents and to hold negligent drivers accountable.

Continue reading "Do Florida Laws Encourage Hit and Run Drivers?" »

Broward Pedestrian Accidents a Serious, Ongoing Safety Threat

April 15, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Recently in Weston, a hit-and-run driver struck a pedestrian on U.S. 27, causing the adult male victim to suffer serious injuries. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
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Authorities are looking for the driver, but our pedestrian accident attorneys in Broward know that many times in these situations, when the driver is never caught, victims must turn to their own insurance company for help. We are experienced in handling claims involving uninsured (or unidentified) and underinsured drivers.

Nationwide, pedestrian deaths have seen a dramatic increase of 15 percent between 2009 and 2012, even as the instance of all other motor vehicle fatalities declined by 3 percent. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that based on preliminary data for the first six months of 2013 in all 50 states plus D.C., there were 1,985 pedestrian fatalities. That's a marked decrease from the 2,175 that was reported in the first six months of 2012;. Whether those figures continued to bear out for the rest of the year remains to be seen, as more recent statistics are not yet available.

Continue reading "Broward Pedestrian Accidents a Serious, Ongoing Safety Threat" »

Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan

February 5, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Bicyclist and pedestrian safety are among eight emphasis areas in Florida's 2012 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The SHSP has identified six strategies on which to focus safety efforts.

In the detailed Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan, officials are working to provide a comprehensive framework to reduce the risks of injuries and fatalities among bicyclists and pedestrians along our busy public roads. Key areas in this plan are focusing on aggressive driving habits, intersection accidents, vulnerable road users, lane-departure accidents and looking closely into traffic information throughout the state.
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In 2011, the state's pedestrian fatality fate was close to double the nation's average and bicycle deaths were close to triple the national average. According to the National highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Sunshine State had the highest fatality rates among all states in 2011 for pedestrian fatalities, at close to 3 per 100,000 people. Even though the fatality rate decline a little bit from 2010 to 2011, our bicycle fatality rate increased from about .40 fatalities per 100,00 people to about .63 -- a jump of about 50 percent.

Our personal injury attorneys in Coral Springs understand that Florida only accounted for about 11 percent of the nation's population in 2011, but we accounted for more than 17 percent of all bicycle fatalities in the nation that year. The "Dangerous By Design" report shows us that the top four metropolitan areas on the list for areas most dangerous for pedestrians were all in the state of Florida, including Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach. Miami-Dade County was ranked as the most dangerous for pedestrian fatalities and injuries from 2007 to 2011.

Continue reading "Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan" »

Preventing Child Pedestrian Accidents through Halloween

October 17, 2013 by Dean H. Freeman

It's Halloween, and that means more than haunted houses and sweet treats. It means some serious risks for pedestrian accidents. As a matter of fact, Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for pedestrian accidents, especially among young children. According to a recent study, and a look over at more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on October 31, it was concluded that there have been 115 child pedestrian fatalities through the 21 years of analysis. That's an average of close to 6 fatalities on the haunted night each and every year -- compared to the average of about 2.6 on every other night of the year.
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The deadliest hours for trick-or-treaters were from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. About 60 percent of all of the child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night occurred during this time. About 70 percent of them happened at areas away from a crosswalk or an intersection and they were most likely to happen among children between the ages of 12 and 15, according to StateFarm.

Our Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyers understand that Halloween is supposed to be a fun, lighthearted night for our youngster, but it's our responsibility to make sure that this is all good, safe fun. We advise parents to take advantage of local businesses and downtown activities for trick-or-treating, but if you're set on hitting the neighborhoods, please review and follow these safety tips:

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Congested Traffic Threatens Pedestrian Airport Travelers

June 6, 2013 by Dean H. Freeman

A simple trip to the airport to pick up an arriving traveler turned deadly after a pedestrian was struck by a charter bus. According to the Huffington Post, the accident happened at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when the pedestrian tripped while crossing the busy four lanes of traffic right outside the arrival area of the airport. it happened just before 3:00 p.m. outside Terminal 4.
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According to accident reports, the woman arrived in an SUV, which stopped in the middle of these four lanes (where traffic is not supposed to stop). The woman exited the rear of the SUV and at one point stumbled and fell to the ground. Upon hitting the pavement, she was run over by a passing bus. No one on the bus was injured.

Our Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyers understand that the airport can be a confusing and dangerous place. With all the excitement of picking up friends and family members, or tossing your bags on a plane and flying out of town, it's no surprise that safety takes a back seat. Unfortunately, there are plenty of risks to be found in and around airports, whether you're coming or going.

In this area (in the lanes where the involved vehicles were traveling), traffic is not allowed to stop to let anyone get in our out of a vehicle. But who's to know that in these busy and confusing travel areas. Are signs working well enough? Are drivers paying enough attention?

"It's tragic any way you look at it," said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles.

Officers are still investigating the accident, and have not reported if there will be any charges filed.

The truth of the matter is that dropping off and picking up passengers is statistically not that safe. Each and every year, there are a number of accidents and fatalities that happen as a result of vehicles driving around airport terminals. These are the lanes near the airport entrances and exits and they're filled with parking lot shuttles, city buses, cars, cabs and many are double-parked. If you're not used to this kind of traffic, the layout can be awfully confusing -- and dangerous.

These conditions are especially risky for those on-foot travelers.

When you're walking through this area, it's critical that you have your full attention on your surroundings. Unfortunately, traffic in the area is more concerned with picking up or dropping off their passengers than on the safety of the traffic around them.

When you're walking outside an airport, it's important that you:

-Walk in designated crosswalks.

-Only board/exit vehicles where permitted.

-Stay one step ahead of the traffic around you.

-Only cross the road when you KNOW you have enough time. Avoid hurrying across.

-Only board/exit vehicles in designated areas. You cannot always just stop your vehicle and hop in/out whenever you'd like.

Following these simple safety tips will help to make sure you make it to/from your flight safely.

Continue reading "Congested Traffic Threatens Pedestrian Airport Travelers" »

Broward Pedestrian Accidents & The Risk of Hybrid Vehicles

January 12, 2013 by Dean H. Freeman

Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are asking that all vehicles meet a minimum sound standard.

In particular, they are targeting hybrid and electric vehicles in an effort to help keep pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable travelers safe out there.
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Our Fort Pierce car accident lawyers understand quieter vehicles can increase the risks in traffic -- especially for cyclists and pedestrians. With the hybrid and electric cars, vehicles are seemingly silent. Unfortunately, many pedestrians and bicyclists rely on their hearing to help avoid approaching traffic. .

"Safety is our highest priority, and this proposal will help keep everyone using our nation's streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired," said Ray LaHood with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

These new, fuel-efficient and hybrid cars often don't run on gas like normal, and at low speeds they're alarmingly quiet. Under the new proposed standard, officials are asking Congress to require that in the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act these quieter cars meet a minimum sound requirement. They would only have to meet this standard when traveling 18 mph or slower because officials believe that their sound is sufficient at faster speeds.

Sounds would have to be the same for the same make and model of vehicle. The NHTSA has even gone as far as to provide car manufacturers with sample sounds already.

David Strickland with the NHTSA says that it's all about helping to make our roadways safer for all travelers. He adds that this is a move that will largely benefit those who are hearing-impaired, as well as those who are visually impaired and so rely more heavily on the sound of approaching traffic.

It's our responsibility as pedestrians to be on the lookout. We need to stay one step ahead of the vehicular traffic around us. Unfortunately, we can't always rely on the safe habits of drivers. They're oftentimes distracted if not blatantly ignoring on-foot travelers. Be sure that you're doing all that you can to make yourself seen -- like wearing bright colors, using reflective materials and traveling with a flashlight when it's dark out. You're also reminded to always use sidewalks and steer clear of passing traffic. Cross the road by using crosswalks and street corners.

This is especially important for pedestrians here in the South Florida area. According to Transportation for America, South Florida holds the top 4 most dangerous spots for pedestrian accidents in the country. These areas are Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Pompano-Clearwater, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach.

The truth is that many pedestrian-car accidents can be prevented with awareness. Let's all work together to remain aware of one another out there and work to improve roadway safety for all.

Continue reading "Broward Pedestrian Accidents & The Risk of Hybrid Vehicles" »

Florida Travelers in Danger, Accidents on the Rise

December 12, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

Florida is in some trouble. According to a recent press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatalities among bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists in the country is on the rise. These numbers were significantly higher in 2011 in comparison to 2010.

Florida is among the nation's most dangerous state when it comes to all three types of crashes.

With all of this bad news, officials are still patting themselves on the back for some overall decreases. While the total number of traffic fatalities may have decreased nationwide during this time, many forms of transportation continue to grow more dangerous
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"Even as we celebrate the progress we've made in recent years, we must remain focused on addressing the safety issues that are continuing to claim more than 30,000 lives each year," said the Administrator for the NHTSA, David Strickland.

Our Tamarac accident attorneys understand that there were close to 2,500 people killed in traffic accidents in the state of Florida in 2011. We were actually ranked as the third most dangerous state in the nation -- behind California and Texas.

In 2011, there were more than 32,300 people killed in traffic accidents throughout the U.S. While officials boast this is a 2 percent decrease from the year before, there are still tens of thousands of people dying on our roadways every year. What's most unfortunate is that most of these accidents are actually preventable. In addition to these fatalities, there were another 2.22 million peopled injured.

There are more reasons than "good driving" for the overall decrease. Officials report that the total number of vehicle miles driven was down in 2011 in comparison to 2010. When people are driving less, there are obviously fewer risks for accidents. Americans were staying home more because of the struggling economy and because of the rising gas prices. But that's all changing!

Now that the economy is improving and gas prices are dipping, residents are feeling a little more comfortable hitting the road and taking those vacations they've passed up in recent years. The total number of vehicle miles traveled is expected to increase and with that we're going to see more risks and ultimately more accidents, injuries and fatalities. It's time like these that we need to pay the utmost attention to our driving skills. We also need to pay attention to the most vulnerable travelers along our roadways.

Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists are urged to be extra careful. Here are the alarming stats:

-Bicyclist fatalities increased by more than 8.5 percent.

-Pedestrian fatalities jumped by about 3 percent.

-Motorcyclist fatalities increased by more than 2 percent.

Snowbirds are in town and visitors are venturing south for the winter. This is when our accident risks are the highest. Be safe out there and stay one step ahead of the traffic around you. Alert and defensive driving habits are your number one defense against a serious accident.

Continue reading "Florida Travelers in Danger, Accidents on the Rise" »

Young Pompano Child Killed in Parking Lot Accident

October 7, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

In a recent pedestrian accident, the life of a young boy was taken. According to 7 NEWS, the boy's family was checking out of the Forum Hotel in Pompano Beach when the accident happened. The child was playing with a ball outside while parents dealt with business inside.
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The boy kicked the ball into the street. He ran to get it and was hit by a passing van. Now, all that marks the scene of the accident is a pink, spray-painted circle where the little boy was hit. The child was taken to the Broward General Hospital after the accident and medical professionals were able to get him breathing again, but it didn't last long. According to doctors, his injuries were too severe to survive. Police are still looking into the details but are saying that it appears to have been an accident.

Our Pompano Beach accident lawyers understand that children are some of the most vulnerable pedestrians out there. Because they've never been behind the wheel of a car and because they're so young, they are at increased risk of being involved in a serious or fatal pedestrian accident. Parking lots increase those risks.

It's parents' responsibility to make sure that these children are always supervised around vehicular traffic. It's also a good idea to talk with them about safe walking tips to make sure that they are safe and understand the dangers if you might happen to turn your head.

According to SafeKids USA, there were more than 240 kids under the age of 14 who were killed in pedestrian accidents in 2009 in the United States. Since 2001, there has been an average of close to 20,000 kids injured in pedestrian accidents each and every year. The truth of the matter is that the maturity level of a kid who is under the age of 10 makes him or her less able to correctly gauge road dangers and renders him or her at greater risk for injury and death.

Who is most at risk for these accidents?

-Close to 70 percent of child pedestrian fatalities happen to males.

-Kids who live in low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident.

-There were more than 100 kids under the age of 4 killed in backover accidents in 2007.

-About 80 percent of driveway-related accidents happen to kids under the age of 4.

-Single parents and younger mothers are more likely to have a child involved in a pedestrian accident.

Parents are asked to always keep an eye on young pedestrians near vehicular traffic. It's also important that you talk with your kid about the dangers of cars. Teach them to stay away from traffic and to keep their eyes on their surroundings at all times. These kinds of accidents can be prevented, it just takes a little concern, awareness and education.

Continue reading "Young Pompano Child Killed in Parking Lot Accident" »

Red-Light Runners and Pedestrian Accidents: Commonly Connected

August 9, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been running the Stop Red-Light Running Program since 1995 working to help to educate motorists about the risks associated with running red lights. One of the highlights of this program is National Stop on Red Week, which takes place this first week of August.
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Since this program started, it's been able to help to reduce the number of red-light runners by nearly 20 percent. Still, there are far too many motorist speeding through intersections and causing deadly accidents. It's not only motorists who are at risk either. Oftentimes, bicyclists and pedestrians are the ones who suffer a brunt of the damage and injuries.

Our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys understand that these accidents are accounting for a large amount of the traffic fatalities we see every year. As a matter of fact, the number of pedestrians fatalities in 2010 saw a steep increase from the year before. Many believe that the increase in these fatalities is a direct result of red-light runners.

Pedestrians are urged to cross the road at crosswalks and at street corners, but many may be hesitant because of the fear of encountering a red-light runner. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is urging motorists to slow it down, to obey traffic signals and to keep an eye out for these vulnerable travelers.

As a matter of fact, the NHTSA reported that the number of pedestrian fatalities recorded in the U.S. rose by nearly 5 percent in 2010.

"Whether you choose to travel by foot or car, it's important to share the roads and stay alert," said USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The most recent statistics show that nearly 4,300 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2010. That's nearly 200 more than the year before. These accidents accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year and nearly 5 percent of all of the injuries reported. Most of these accidents happened in urban areas at non-intersections. About 90 percent of them happened in clear weather. About 70 percent occurred at night.

Florida saw a good portion of these accidents, too. We're consistently one of the deadliest states for pedestrian accidents, injuries and fatalities in the nation.

We have large number of pedestrians, tourists and older residents, and that's why it's so important for both vehicular and on-foot traffic to be on the lookout for one another, especially in hard-to-see conditions and at night.

Pedestrians need to keep their attention on their surroundings at all times. You can't rely on the driving habits of others to keep you safe. Be on the lookout for motorists who aren't obeying traffic laws and who are putting your safety in jeopardy. Avoid engaging in distractions while walking and stay as far away from traffic when you can.

Continue reading "Red-Light Runners and Pedestrian Accidents: Commonly Connected" »

Distracted Pedestrians in Danger of Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

August 1, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

We oftentimes talk about the risks of distracted driving, but there's a new problem on the block -- distracted walking. Pedestrians need to keep their eyes on their surroundings, especially on motor vehicle traffic, to help to steer clear of hazards and away from dangerous drivers.

According to Yahoo News, the number of pedestrians who landed in the hospital because of a distracted walking accident has more than quadrupled in the last seven years. There has also been a spike in the number of pedestrians injured and killed in recent years.
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"We are where we were with cellphone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn't have the data," said Jonathan Akins with the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Our Lantana pedestrian accident lawyers understand that Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the country for pedestrian accidents. It's important that on-foot travelers throughout the state keep an eye on the traffic around them. Alert walking habits may be one of your best defenses against a potentially fatal accident. We can't rely on the safe habits of drivers the drivers around you.

Many state and local officials are looking for ways to help to reduce these risks now. Many are even asking state government to take the lead. Officials in Delaware even launched a "Look up. Drivers aren't always looking out for you." campaign to help to get pedestrians to pay more attention. And officials with the Utah Transit Authority also adopted an ordinance to ban this behavior, giving those who disobey a $50 fine.

There are also a lot of areas that have tried to pass laws to ban distracted walking. Nearly all of these attempts failed.

Researchers are studying the problem. Officials in Maryland looked at nearly 120 pedestrian accidents in which these walkers were wearing headphones. In about 70 percent of these accidents, the victims were men who were under the age of 30.

In 2011, there were nearly 1,200 people who were sent to the ER because they were injured in a pedestrian accident while walking and using an electronic device. Officials believe that this number is actually much higher because, in many cases, distraction is not admitted by the pedestrian.

Pedestrians are asked to keep their head up and their eyes on their surroundings. You run the risk of falling off a curb, walking into traffic that hasn't stopped for you, or even tripping on road hazards.

Continue reading "Distracted Pedestrians in Danger of Accidents in Fort Lauderdale" »

Even an Alligator Knows How to Walk Safely in Broward County

July 16, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

There's an interesting photo posted on the NewTimes. It's a picture of an alligator crossing the street in a local South Florida neighborhood.

It's not that it's an alligator in the road that's drawing attention of residents in the area, but it's the fact that the alligator is properly using the crosswalk. Crosswalks are something that may seem foreign at times. Unfortunately, neither drivers nor pedestrians are staying on the lookout for one another and are both traveling like they own the road.
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The picture was shared on Facebook by Bay News 9 and it's getting quite the response. It was noted that the gator has a brain that's the same size as about three olives, but still it was smart enough to use the crosswalk. Many in the area are wondering why local pedestrians aren't doing the same.

"Next time you're thinking about running diagonally across a Broward Boulevard intersection...think like a gator," says NewTimes.

The gator may be on to something. Our Broward County pedestrian accident attorneys understand that pedestrians in the area have become pretty comfortable with walking the streets. Many of them even feel like they own the roadway, as if cars are catering to their every move. The truth of the matter is that cars aren't always playing the same game. Many times, drivers aren't paying attention to pedestrians. Walkers and bikers in the area are at extreme risks for accidents when they fail to travel defensively and when they're not keeping an eye on traffic.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, about 17 percent of the state's traffic fatalities were of pedestrians in 2008. Statistics with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) reveal that the number of pedestrian fatalities may have hit a 10-year low in 2008, but the number of pedestrians injured in these same accidents actually increased. In fact, Broward County was ranked as one of the top counties in the entire state for pedestrian fatalities. In 2008, there were more than 500 pedestrians killed and another 8,000 injured in the state of Florida.

When you talk about drinking in traffic accidents you would naturally think of drinking and driving. Did you know that more than 36 percent of pedestrians that were killed in 2008 had been drinking?

It's the same thing with distractions. You'd likely think distracted driving. But the truth of the matter is that distractions drastically affect pedestrians, too. You need all of your attention on your surroundings when walking through South Florida, your safety relies on it. Be a safer walker and follow the rules of the road, stay alert and stay sober! Don't rely on the habits of drivers to keep you safe. Be a proactive pedestrian and take safety into your own hands!

Continue reading "Even an Alligator Knows How to Walk Safely in Broward County" »

Thirteen Killed in South Florida Car Accidents in 24-Hours

April 3, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

There were thirteen people and an unborn child killed in recent car accidents in South Florida. What's most alarming about these fatalities is that they all happened within a 24-hour period.

According to The Miami Herald, the deadliest accident killed four people in Miami-Dade in an accident on the Gratigny Expressway.
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As we recently reported on our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, these fatalities included a mother and her unborn child. The woman was in a cabana at her hotel when a vehicle left the road and ran directly into it.

Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers understand that there were two more people killed by a hit-and-run driver on the shoulder of Florida's turnpike. This accident happened in the middle of the day -- the two were killed attempting to change a tire on the side of the road. With the height of tourist season being right now, risks for car accidents in the South Florida have skyrocketed!

Broward County was included in these fatal accidents, too. A parishioner was ran over and dragged through a church parking lot. There was also a 14-year-old kid killed as he was skateboarding. Lastly, a 5-year-old girl was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

In total, there were six fatalities in Miami-Dade, three in Palm Beach County and four in Broward.

Florida deals with a fluctuation in roadway traffic year round. Right now we're dealing with Spring Breakers and visitors from throughout the country. With these travelers, we see increased risks for accidents. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles(FLHSMV), nearly 240,000 car accidents happened in the state of Florida in 2010. There were nearly 200,000 people who were injured and another 2,445 people who were killed in these accidents. In 2010, there were more alcohol-related car accidents than the year before. The number of pedestrian fatalities also increased during this time. That's not all. There were more bicyclists killed and motorcycle passengers killed during this time than the year before. The number of teen drivers killed remained the same from 2009 to 2010.

Drivers are asked to be safe on our roadways and to follow these few simple safety tips to help to avoid an accident:

-Always wear a seat belt. Make sure passengers are buckled up, too!

-Avoid using cell phones and text messaging devices behind the wheel.

-Keep your windshield clean to maximize vision.

-Never drink and drive.

-Never ride with the gas tank on E. Keep it at least half full.

-Always obey road signs, including stop signs, traffic lights and speed limit postings.

-Never tailgate other vehicles.

-Keep music at a reasonable volume.

-Keep chitchat with passengers to a minimum.

-Avoid using cruise control.

-Be cautious and slowdown in shoddy weather.

-Be a courteous driver at all times.

Continue reading "Thirteen Killed in South Florida Car Accidents in 24-Hours" »

Don't Blame Florida Pedestrians for High Injury Risk

February 3, 2012 by Dean H. Freeman

Florida pedestrians are some of the most endangered in the country.

As The New York Times put it in an article last year:
"Any pedestrian in Florida knows, walking in this car-obsessed state can be as tranquil as golfing in a lightning storm."

And yet, less-than-accurate information is being peddled to the media about who is most frequently at-fault in pedestrian deaths and injuries in Vero Beach and beyond.

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Our Vero Beach car accident attorneys know that Florida communities earned the top 4 slots in the ranking of most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians last year. Orlando-Kissimmee ranked first, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, and then Jacksonville in third, followed by Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach. Those are national rankings - meaning our pedestrians are at even higher risk than those in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago.

In a comprehensive study conducted by Transportation for America, it was found the state often lacks adequate sidewalks, and further that drivers tend to be more careless and aggressive.

And yet, conclusions from a new study originating from the University of Maryland Children's Hospital have been published by various media outlets. The study essentially blames pedestrians' use of headphones as a catalyst for the crashes that lead to their injury and death.

The Times Union, in New York, for example, published the findings that in a five-year span, the number of headphone-wearing pedestrians who were killed tripled. Sure, that sounds like a startling figure at first.

The researchers were essentially saying that pedestrians who decided to enjoy music along their route were putting themselves at greater risk. No mention was made of those careless drivers who struck them, many of whom were likely also blaring their stereos or were otherwise distracted.

But let's look a little closer at the numbers being used here. Researchers pointed to 16 deaths that fit this scenario in 2004-2005. Then they looked at numbers from 2010-2011, and found 47 deaths that fit that same pattern.

Yes, that means the numbers tripled, but in fact, it's a very miniscule number of the total pedestrian deaths and injuries every year. Consider that between 2000 and 2009, more than 47,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S.

As pointed out in a recent blog by Transportation for America's Stephen Lee Davis, that means the number of deaths the University of Maryland researchers are talking about accounts for 0.03 percent of all pedestrian deaths.

"Spending our time focused intently on this tiny aspect of pedestrian deaths is like coming across a person who’s been stabbed in the chest, and worrying about finding the Band-Aid you need to patch the scrape on his elbow," Davis wrote.

Our Vero Beach car accident attorneys agree: Blaming the victim gets us nowhere.

Continue reading "Don't Blame Florida Pedestrians for High Injury Risk" »

Parking Lot Accidents in Wellington Common through Holiday Season

December 13, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

As the holidays draw near, more and more residents are flocking to the malls and other shopping centers to get those last-minute gifts for friends and family. Be careful when parking at these places though because parking lots are commonly the backdrop for serious accidents. There are high risks for car and pedestrian accidents in Wellington parking lots through the holiday season.

"With the holiday season coming up and more shoppers expected to park in lots later at night, it's important to be aware of the surroundings and choose a safe place to park," said Anndee Soderberg, ADT marketing manager.
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Our Wellington car accident attorneys ask motorists and pedestrians to be safe while traveling through parking lots and parking garages outside of busy stores. Pedestrians are not only warned to be safe around vehicular traffic in these lots, they're also warned to be cautious of cracked sidewalks and other hazardous debris. By following a few safety tips, we can all help to make sure that we make it in and out of the stores safely this year.

Parking Lot Safety Tips:

-Be aware of your surroundings. Refrain from distracting activities, such as cell phones, bags and packages, car keys, pedestrians and other cars. Keep your eyes on the parking lot.

-Always hold the hands of small children.

-Be careful when crossing the path of vehicular traffic. Look both ways when crossing a parking lot lane just as you would crossing the street.

-Park in open spaces. Never try to squeeze your vehicle into a tiny spot.

-Be extra careful when backing up. Keep looking around your vehicle for nearby pedestrians. Backup slowly just in case someone darts out behind your vehicle unexpectedly.

-Lookout for defective sidewalks and parking lot debris.

-Walk when and where pedestrian traffic is signaled to.

-Drivers should always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

-Drivers should never block or park in crosswalks.

Property owners are required to keep parking lots clean and safe for everyone. as well By following a few safety measures, property owners can help to prevent any accidents or legal matters regarding their parking lots.

Tips for parking lot owners:

-Make sure that all areas of the lot are well lit.

-Deal with flooding areas immediately after the rain to avoid any fall hazards.

-Clearly mark areas where pedestrian and vehicular traffic are expected.

-Clearly mark steps and changes in level on sidewalks.

-Clear the lot of all trash and other debris.

-All signs should be visit and legible.

As the stores fill up with holiday shoppers, the parking lots are expected to fill as well. Shoppers are urged to be cautious when parking as these areas can produce a number of accidents if you're not cautious and careful. Property owners are required, by law, to ensure that these areas are safe for all visitors. Let's all do our part to be smart, polite, careful and courteous in parking lots to avoid an accident. Happy Holidays and safe shopping!

Continue reading "Parking Lot Accidents in Wellington Common through Holiday Season" »

Daylight Saving Time Brings Increased Risks for Pedestrian Accidents in Pembroke Pines

November 9, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

While Daylight Saving Time's "fall back" earlier this month gave us an extra hour, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says we are now in a time period of increased risks for pedestrian accidents in Pembroke Pines and elsewhere.

The NHTSA reports that there were more than 4,000 pedestrian fatalities and nearly 60,000 pedestrian injuries in 2009. About a quarter of these fatal pedestrian accidents happened between 4 and 8 p.m, and nearly 15 percent happened between 4 and 8 a.m.
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Our Pembroke Pines car accident attorneys remind drivers to keep a heads-up for pedestrians on our roadways. Since night falls upon us much earlier in the evening now, pedestrians are harder to see this time of year. Adjusting to the new low-light environment can take a little while. We also ask motorists and pedestrians to curb the distractions. Everyone traveling along our roadways needs to put their full attention on the traffic around them.

Since it gets darker much earlier now, pedestrians are urged to carry a flashlight with them to help motorists to see them more easily. If you don't want to carry a flashlight, you're urged to wear reflective gear. Being visible to motorists may be one of the best ways to prevent an accident from dusk to dawn.

Here are some additional safety tips for motorists and pedestrians:

Motorists

-Be sure to travel slowly in residential areas during the evening hours. It takes more alertness to see a pedestrian when it's dark.

-Remember that pedestrians could be wearing headphones (although this is not a safe practice). These devices block out traffic noise and may prevent a pedestrian from hearing your vehicle approach.

-It's a good idea to keep your mirrors, windows and windshield clean. This helps to increase visibility when it's dark out. You should frequently check to make sure that your windshield wiper fluid is full, your wipers are in good-working condition and that your defrosters are working properly.

Pedestrians

-You should always carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials to your clothing. Try fluorescent tape. You can adhere this tape to your clothes, purse, briefcase, bike, shoes or backpack.

-Traffic signals won't always protect you. Unfortunately, drivers run red lights and turn when they're supposed to yield. This could be because they're distracted or because they haven't fully adjusted to the darker setting. Always travel defensively.

-Never jaywalk, especially from between two parked cars. It's best for pedestrians to cross at crosswalks or at street corners.

-Always use the sidewalk when one is available. If you have to walk along the street, do so facing oncoming traffic.

As the darkness falls upon us much sooner since we've set our clocks back, be sure to exercise caution on our roadways. Nighttime serves as a popular backdrop for serious accidents. Help to prevent one by driving cautiously, alertly and defensively.

Continue reading "Daylight Saving Time Brings Increased Risks for Pedestrian Accidents in Pembroke Pines" »

International Walk to School Day Raises Awareness of School-Aged Pedestrian Accidents in Port St. Lucie, Nation

October 5, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

Our West Palm Beach pedestrian accident attorneys want you to know that today is International Walk to School Day. This yearly event started back in 1997, and is designed to raise awareness about safer roadways and safer pedestrian habits among children.

In 2002, there were more than 3 million people who participated in the event, with every state joining in to conduct activities and walks to help raise awareness. Because of International Walk to School Day and Safe Routes to School programs, the federal government has allotted a significant amount of money to be distributed to local and state governments to help fund safe-walking programs and pedestrian-safer roadways.
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In 2009, there were approximately 1,300 youngsters under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic-related pedestrian accidents in Pompano Beach and elsewhere. Another 179,000 individuals in this age group were injured in the same types of incidents. International Walk to School Day is a good time to increase awareness about the presence of these young pedestrians and to reduce their risks for injury.

Schools participating in the 2011 International Walk to School Day:

-Grassy Waters Elementary School

-Charles R. Drew Elementary School

-Norwood Elementary School

-Virginia A. Boone Highland Oaks Elementary School

-Verde Elementary School

-Whispering Pines Elementary School

International Walk to School Day promotes the four E's; education, enforcement, encouragement and engineering. Education refers to creating programs and activities that help children to learn safe-walking habits. Encouragement means helping children to want to follow safe, regular and healthy walking habits. Enforcement has to do with making sure that law enforcement officials enforce the current traffic laws and posted speed limits, especially in areas where young pedestrians are present. Encouragement efforts can be executed through public relations efforts, regular announcements, special events and incentive programs. Through the last "E," engineering, the campaign urges traffic departments to upgrade roadways, signs, road lighting and sidewalks. Enhancing these road characteristics can help to enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety for residents statewide.

Parents are urged to talk with children about how to be safe when walking. Tips should include: looking both ways before crossing the street; never running across the street; wearing bright-colored clothing during evening and early morning hours; and making eye contact with drivers before crossing the roadway. Walking to school is a task that requires responsibility and maturity, so parents are urged to discuss the dangers and the importance of safety during each walk to school.

Effectively reducing the risks of child pedestrian accidents means that we need to continue to teach our young ones safe traveling habits. Make it a regular topic of conversation in your household. Without concerned parents' involvement, young pedestrians may be unable to comprehend the dangers of traffic. We can all chip in to help keep school-aged pedestrians safe and injury-free on our roadways.

Continue reading "International Walk to School Day Raises Awareness of School-Aged Pedestrian Accidents in Port St. Lucie, Nation" »

73-Year-Old Woman Killed in Fort Lauderdale Teen Car Accident

July 11, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

A 73-year-old woman was run over by a 19-year-old driver in a Fort Lauderdale teen car accident. The woman was walking through her neighborhood around 6:30 a.m. when the young motorist struck her, according to New Times BPB.

Officers report that the teen had been drinking. After the accident, he left the woman's body lying in the street and parked his car at his house down the road. His mother called the Sheriff's Office after discovering her son's bloody car with a shattered windshield and dented hood. The boy was later taken into custody and charged with the woman's death. He's facing charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and DUI manslaughter, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
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After hearing stories like this, about teen drivers endangering Florida residents, it's no surprise that these young, inexperienced drivers have been placed on the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) "most wanted" list. Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers encourage parents to get involved with their teen's driving. It is important to teach them safe and cautious driving habits while monitoring their driving abilities. With education and enforcement from parents, driving organizations and government, we can help to properly trains our newly licensed drivers and make our roadways a little bit safer.

The NTSB recommends that state government enforce some sort of graduated driver licensing (GDL) system. This is a driving program that allows young, novice drivers to learn and practice skills a little bit at a time before earning full driving privileges.

Back in 1996, the state of Florida established the Graduated Licensing System. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles requires that young drivers demonstrate responsible driving habits and behaviors in each stage of licensing before they're able to advance to the next.

In Florida, teens have to drive under the following restrictions as they venture towards obtaining a full driver's license:

-15-years-old: A teen is allowed to get their learner's permit. Under this license, a teen must always have a licensed driver 21years of age or older in the passenger seat. During the first three months of this stage, driving is limited to daylight hours only. After three months, the driving hours are extended 10:00 p.m.

-16-years-old: Drivers can drive without a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the passenger seat. They are only allowed to drive alone between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. If they are to drive outside of these allotted hours, they must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21-years-old in the passenger seat, or be traveling to or from work.

-17-years-old: Teens can now drive between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. Again, they must be accompanied by a licensed driver that is at least 21-years-old if they wish to drive outside of these hours, or be traveling to or from work.

-18-years-old: A teen is now eligible to be fully licensed. They are allowed to drive during any hour of the day without a licensed passenger requirement.

According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, states with a strong teen driver safety program typically sees 40 percent lower rates of injury accident involvement among 16-year-old drivers. Still, Florida saw nearly 400 teen driver deaths in 2009 alone. Parents are urged to get involved and be active in their teen's driving experience to help reduce these fatality numbers.

Continue reading "73-Year-Old Woman Killed in Fort Lauderdale Teen Car Accident" »

Miami, Fort Lauderdale lead nation in most dangerous metro areas for pedestrian accidents

May 27, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

My Fox Tampa Bay reported recently about the near tragic pedestrian accident on Florida Avenue. The female pedestrian was struck by a car while crossing the street. The driver fled from the scene but was tracked down by police after a witness called 911, followed the escaping vehicle, and gave directions to dispatch for the police to track him down.

It's a problem across Florida. But nowhere is it more accute than the Fort Lauderdale-Miami region.
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Pedestrian accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere occur far too frequently but being the victim of a hit-and-run accident is inexcusable. Medical costs associated with pedestrian accidents can be overwhelming so contacting a Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve is the first step to making a full recovery both physically and financially.

Transportation for America recently released the 2011 pedestrian safety report. The Dangerous by Design 2011 report indicates that Florida contains the top 4 most dangerous metro areas which include: Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach.

From 2000 through 2009, almost 48,000 pedestrians have been killed in the United States. This is equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing once a month over the course of a 10-year period. It is also reported that another 688,000 pedestrians have been injured in motor vehicle accidents during the same time period which equates to someone being struck every 7 minutes by a vehicle of some sort.

Our region remains one of the most dangerous parts of the state. From 2000-2009, Broward County reported 463 pedestrian fatalities, Hillsborough County reported 375 walkers killed on roadways, and Miami-Dade County reported 753 pedestrian fatalities during that time period. Florida's overall Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) is 182.8 which is top in the nation.

Much blame is being put on state departments for not putting the resources towards pedestrian safety and improving ways to create a safe alternative for walkers. Of the federal funds available to state departments, only about 1.5 percent actually gets allocated toward projects that would improve pedestrian safety on roadways.
Most pedestrian deaths are deemed as 'accidents' but the truth of the matter is they are all considered preventable. A common denominator for most pedestrian accidents is that they occur on poorly designed roadways or streets manufactured for speeding traffic. From 2000-2009, 67 percent of the total pedestrian fatalities occurred on federal-aid roadways where something could be done by the state to make them safer.

Transportation for America is offering the following recommendations for the next federal transportation spending bill:

-Keep the two largest funding resources for bike and pedestrian safety, Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School programs in tact that Congress is considering eliminating.

-A national complete streets policy should be put in place in which federally funded projects should take into account all roadway users including pedestrians, bicyclists, children, adults and disabled individuals.

-Create a network of sidewalks, trails and bicycle paths that residents can use throughout a community which would keep them from sharing roadways with vehicles.

-Federal, state and local governments should set goals to spend Highway Safety funding entirely, rather than a small percentage, on pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist and motorist safety.

-Hold states accountable for the improvements being made (or lack thereof) to create a safer environment as well as a more active population.
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It is evident that pedestrians are at high risk in our state so motorists need to keep a watchful and use extra caution in areas where pedestrians are prevalent.

Continue reading " Miami, Fort Lauderdale lead nation in most dangerous metro areas for pedestrian accidents" »

South Florida train accidents a risk for pedestrians and motorists

January 19, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

Just shy of 7 a.m. on Jan. 18, a Florida East Coast Railway train engineer reported spotting a body alongside the track just south of Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Cops believe the victim – a white male – was side-swiped by a southbound train late Monday night. Details determining the exact time and cause of death are still being investigated.

As our West Palm Beach injury lawyers noted in an earlier post to our South Florida Injury Lawyers blog, a full investigation into the cause of death or injury in a pedestrian-related Florida train accident is a critical step in protecting the rights of the injured.
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In 2009, Operation Lifesaver reports, there were 1,916 reports of highway-railroad crossing collisions nationwide. More than 60 percent of them happened in just 15 states. Of those, Florida ranked 13th with 50 reported railway-related collisions.

Another 246 highway-railroad crossings were fatal. Again, nearly three-quarters of those deadly accidents happened in just 15 states. Florida ranked 7th with 10 deaths linked to railroad accidents. Florida also ranked 7th for pedestrian-railway crossing fatalities with 19 pedestrians killed by trains in 2009. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that overall in 2009, Florida railroad crossings were the site of 199 traffic crashes; 29 fatal and nearly 2,000 with injuries.

Pedestrian-railway crossing accidents remain the leading cause of railway-related fatalities at an estimated 500 pedestrian deaths each year. A three-year investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration revealed that the average victim of a pedestrian-railroad crossing death is most often a white male in his late 30s.

Operation Lifesaver offers some tips to help pedestrians avoid becoming a railroad fatality statistic:

~ First and foremost, even if you can’t see or hear one, ALWAYS expect a train is heading your way. Trains are fast and can approach from any direction at any time.

~ The safest place for a pedestrian is well off the track and well outside the overhang zone that extends at least three feet beyond the tracks on both sides. Tracks may appear inactive, but most times they are not.

~ Never try and beat the train. Even if you don’t slip and fall, it is an optical illusion that a train seems further away and to be moving slower than it actually is. A 100-car train traveling 55 m.p.h. requires 18 football fields in length to come to a complete stop.

~ Only cross at designated locations when you know the rail is clear to cross. Never walk over rail bridges or through tunnels or climb on or between moving or non-moving rail cars. Of course, never try to hop onto a moving train or jump from train to train if astride along a railway.

Continue reading "South Florida train accidents a risk for pedestrians and motorists" »

Orlando cited as worst city for pedestrian accidents -- Miami-Fort Lauderdale third-worst

January 5, 2011 by Dean H. Freeman

From Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce, to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, pedestrian accidents are a year-round danger in South Florida. In fact, NBC2 reports that Orlando is the worst city in the nation for pedestrian accidents.

The Florida Highway Patrol also reports hit-and-run accidents are occurring with increasing frequency. Troopers recorded a total of 691 hit-and-run reports for the month of December alone. Our Port St. Lucie car accident attorneys are frequently asked whether a victim should bother to consult an attorney in cases where hit-and-run causes injury or property damage. We believe strongly that legal representation is your best option for protecting your rights in such cases, as well as those cases in which an uninsured motorists accident causes serious or fatal injury.
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In cases where the driver is identified, it may be possible to file a claim against his or her personal assets, or against the insurance policies in place on other vehicles in the household. You may also be entitled to collect damages from your own insurance carrier.

Pedestrian accidents in South Florida may also involve a hit-and-run driver, either because a driver was intoxicated, lacked a driver's license or insurance, or had other reasons for not stopping at the scene of the crash.

The recent ranking of Orlando as worst in the nation for pedestrian accidents by Transportation for America is not surprising. Millions of tourists and year-round nice weather are both leading contributors to the pedestrian accident problems in Orlando and elsewhere in South Florida.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports Florida pedestrian accidents claimed 490 lives in 2008 -- more than anywhere in the nation except California.

About 1 in 10 of the nation's pedestrian accidents occur in Florida.

Florida cities took the top four spots. Orlando was followed by Tampa, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville.

Continue reading "Orlando cited as worst city for pedestrian accidents -- Miami-Fort Lauderdale third-worst " »

Heavy traffic, boat parades, increase risk for accidents in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding area

December 6, 2010 by Dean H. Freeman

The Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Freeman & Mallard wish each of you a Merry Christmas, a happy holidays and a safe and enjoyable New Year.

It’s this time of year that Florida becomes alive with the spirit of Christmas -- whether holiday travel, boat parades, or time around the backyard pool with friends and family. We spend almost every weekend enjoying all South Florida has to offer.

In fact, Fort Lauderdale plays host to one of the largest one day event extravaganza’s in the country with Winterfest Boat Parade each year. The event draws thousands to the city, even if it’s for one day, and our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys know such large gatherings usually pose a risk of accidents for those who participate or attend.

Holiday boat parades are popular all over the state of Florida during the holiday season so safety is a concern whether you are on the boat or just a spectator driving or walking to the event. Due to the growing popularity from recent years there can be up to a million people who attend these events to take in the lights, music, decorations, and entertainment which often extend over a 14 mile stretch.

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System used but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, December is one of the worst calendar months for traffic fatalities over the last few years in Florida. In fact, last year March was the only other month that accounted for more traffic fatalities than the 548 recorded in December. There may be no direct correlation to holiday parties and parades in December but the number of people attending them certainly enhances the risk of serious injury or fatality to occur.

If you find yourself headed out to attend a holiday parade or gathering this year, the following safety tips could be helpful as a spectator or participant:

-Enjoy the fantastic views but don’t overindulge with too much drinking as driving a vehicle or boat is never safe after alcohol consumption.

-If you step on a parade boat as a spectator or participant you should always make sure you wear a certified life jacket.

-Allow extra time for travel on the highly populated roadways. It’s better to be late than sorry.

-Be courteous to the spectators or participants around you who are enjoying the same décor, no one likes a holiday scrooge.

Continue reading "Heavy traffic, boat parades, increase risk for accidents in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding area" »

Fatal Fort Lauderdale car accidents involving children a continuing cause for concern

November 10, 2010 by Dean H. Freeman

Car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, according to the latest information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our West Palm Beach injury lawyers know there are many reasons for these tragic accidents, including lack of proper seat belts, safety seats and booster seats, speeding, distracted driving and even, tragically, accidents involving drunk drivers.
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Buckle up your kids…it makes a difference. In an effort to save lives, child safety seats or seat belts should be used at all times when traveling in passenger vehicles with children accompanying you. The Florida Highway Patrol requires any child under age 18 to be secured while traveling in a passenger vehicle.

The NHTSA reports infants who are secured in safety seats can reduce the risk of fatality or serious injury by 71 percent. In addition, toddlers who are secured can reduce risk by 54 percent.

In 2009, approximately 309 children avoided fatal injuries due to the fact they were restrained by child safety seats or seat belts. Reports also show in 2009, children under the age of 14 accounted for 4 percent of the fatal accidents in the United States.

Other findings of the new report:

-Florida car accidents claimed the lives of 110 passengers under the age of 4 from 2005-2009

-42 fatalities occurred in Florida for unrestrained children riding in a passenger vehicle

-Estimated 90 lives were saved because of child restraints and safety seat belts in the state of Florida.

-244 kids under the age of 14 were killed in pedestrian accidents last year.

-74 children were killed in bicycle accidents in 2009.

Continue reading "Fatal Fort Lauderdale car accidents involving children a continuing cause for concern" »

Pair of Palm Beach school bus accidents a reminder of dangers faced by motorists and passengers

October 29, 2010 by Dean H. Freeman

The bus driver blamed for a Palm Beach school bus accident has twice been disciplined and has received three speeding tickets in his three years as a bus driver for the school district, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The 54-year-old driver struck a 17-year-old as he was crossing Seminole Pratt-Whitney Road, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. The youth was listed in fair condition at S. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach on Thursday.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than half of all fatal accidents involving school buses are pedestrian accidents or accidents that occur while a passenger is getting on or off the bus. It is incumbent upon school districts and busing companies to be proactive in protecting the safety and welfare of passengers and the public, and that includes properly monitoring the driving records of bus drivers.

Our Palm Beach injury lawyers note it is the second bus accident in Palm Beach this week. On Wednesday, a school bus was involved in an accident with a car at Boynton Beach Boulevard and Jog Road.

Continue reading "Pair of Palm Beach school bus accidents a reminder of dangers faced by motorists and passengers" »

South Florida pedestrian accident on Palmetto Expressway yields more questions than clues

October 2, 2010 by Dean H. Freeman

There are many unknowns and much uncertainty swirling around an early morning South Florida car accident on Palmetto Expressway that left one pedestrian dead and found a stunned driver flagging down a state trooper in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 28, the Miami Herald reports.

What detail are known are sketchy at best. It is believed the Spanish-speaking foreigner flew into Miami International Airport from Laredo, Tex. and that around 3 a.m. he hailed a cab. He asked the driver to take him to a Hialeah Gardens address that authorities have determined doesn’t exist.
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The cab driver, who said the victim asked to sit up front, said his passenger quickly became agitated – flailing his arms and speaking to himself in Spanish. The Florida Highway Patrol reports the victim was talking on a cell phone before he began screaming and unbuckled his seat belt and tried to open the passenger door.

The cab driver pulled off to the shoulder and scrambled to call for help. The victim then fled the vehicle and dashed blindly into traffic and then lay face down in the road. Several cars dodged the victim as the cab driver and couple other drivers attempted to divert traffic. The driver of a 2008 Nissan pickup was unable to avoid striking the man. He has not been charged.

While this case is a bizarre example, most cases handled by Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorneys involve the death of a pedestrian that could have been prevented by the at-fault motorist. In fact, Florida has one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the nation. Most pedestrian-involved traffic fatalities happen in urban areas, at night, under normal weather conditions and at non-intersection locations along roadways. That in 70 percent of cases, the victim is a man.

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department recently reported that more pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties than anywhere else in the state, claiming 150 lives in 2009. Throughout the state, 8,248 pedestrians were involved in Florida car accidents that left 7,676 pedestrians injured.

Continue reading "South Florida pedestrian accident on Palmetto Expressway yields more questions than clues" »

Florida motorists less likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents

September 21, 2010 by Dean H. Freeman

As we mentioned in an earlier post to our South Florida Injury Lawyers blog, 2009 was a banner year for safe driving across the country. The number of people killed in fatal car accidents dropped to its lowest since 1950, reaching almost a 10 percent decline in car accidents fatalities compared to 2008. Motorists injured in car accidents are down as well.

In fact, across the board, riding in or driving a vehicle – four wheeled or two wheeled, motorized or not – even walking on or near roadways in the U.S. is the safest it has ever been, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports. In Florida alone, the number of fatal Florida car accidents has dropped more than anywhere else in the country, reporting 422 fewer fatalities in 2009 than in 2008. Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Georgia also saw more than 200 fewer fatalities. Overall, just 9 states saw the number of fatal car accidents go up.
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However, Florida remains one of the nation's three deadliest states, along with Texas and California. And motorists are more at risk of a serious or fatal car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami than anywhere else in the state.

Throw alcohol into the mix, and again, numbers are down in 33 states and Puerto Rico. Fatal car accidents in which alcohol played a factor declined by 7.4 percent, claiming 10,839 lives in 2009 – 872 fewer than in 2008.


Among the findings:
Total Traffic Fatalities: 33,808 -- down 9.7 percent from 37,423
Passenger Vehicles: 23,382 -- down 8.2 percent from 25,462
Large Trucks: 503 -- down 26 percent from 682
Motorcycles: 4,462 -- down 16 percent from 5,312
Pedestrians: 4,092 -- down 7.3 percent from 4,414
Bicyclists: 150 -- down 12 percent from 188


Injuries were also down across the board:

Total Injuries: 2.217 million -- down 5.5 percent from 2.346 million
Passenger Vehicles: 1.976 million -- down 4.6 percent from 2.072 million
Large Trucks: 17,000 -- down 26 percent from 23,000
Motorcycles: 90,000 -- down 6.3 percent from 96,000
Pedestrians: 59,000 -- down 14 percent from 69,000
Bicyclists: 51,000 -- down 1.9 percent from 52,000

Continue reading "Florida motorists less likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents" »