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Fatal Florida Crash Illustrates Need to Practice Safe Driving Habits

The family of a 39-year-old Florida man is grief-stricken, following a fatal crash that happened in Tampa this month.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the victim was traveling southbound on U.S. 41 when his sport utility vehicle collided with a semi-truck and, horrifyingly, became wedged underneath.

For hours, traffic snarled to a halt on the highly-traveled Florida highway.

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While the state highway patrol continues to investigate the fatal Florida crash, our Hollywood car accident lawyers have been keeping a close eye on statistics regarding deadly crashes throughout the state.

Encouragingly, a new report by the Florida Highway Patrol indicates fatal crashes in Florida were the lowest reported since 1978 – and that’s even considering the state’s population has doubled in the same time frame.

According to the report, 2,373 people died in car accidents throughout the state last year. That figures is preliminary, as investigation into some of those crashes is ongoing. Final results are expected later this year.

Julie Jones, executive director of The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, reported the decrease is part of a downward trend that has been ongoing for six years. Still, she added her agency remains highly invested in continuing to see those numbers fall.

And as the Tampa crash tragically illustrates, one death is still too many.

According to the Tribune, the man was driving his Ford Explorer just after 6 a.m. when a semitrailer, driven by a 41-year-old man, reportedly crossed into his path.
The victim tried to brake and swerve, but his SUV became pinned underneath the larger truck.

Deputies said he was not wearing a seat belt. He died at the scene.

The investigation is continuing.

As the highway patrol’s new report shows, more than 5,000 people have been killed in Florida crashes over the last two years, underscoring the critical importance of vigilance every time you get behind the wheel.

One must also factor in that motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for people ages 4 to 34, the agency reports.

Causes behind many of these accidents include distracted driving, speeding and failure to wear a seat belt or proper safety restraints.

Addressing some of these issues is the National Safety Council, which offers the following tips to motorists:

–Put your cell phone away. The NSC estimates 24 percent of all accidents involve a cell phone, and someone using a phone behind the wheel is four times more likely to crash. It’s simply not worth it.

–Teach your teen responsible and safe driving habits, including limiting night driving as well as the number of passengers in the car. Several states already have laws prohibiting teens from using a phone behind the wheel. Make sure your teens know the law and instruct them to pull over if they need to make a call or send a text.

–Make sure you use or seat belt and that your child is properly strapped in. The council estimates that 63 percent of fatal car accident victims between the ages of 13 and 15 weren’t wearing a seat belt.

–Don’t drive drunk or impaired.

–Learn to keep your cool behind the wheel. Aggressive driving – whether by speeding, running through yellow lights or tailgating – has been found to be a factor in about 60 percent of all fatal crashes, the council reported.

If you or someone in your family has been involved in a traffic accident in Hollywood or elsewhere throughout South Florida, contact Freeman, Mallard, Gonzalez & Sharp to discuss your rights. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

Patrol investigating fatal crash on U.S. 41 near Tampa, by Danny Valentine, The Tampa Tribune

Motor Vehicle Safety, The National Safety Council

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Survey : Drivers Fail to Practice Safe Habits to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Royal Palm Beach and Elsewhere

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