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Street-Side Vendors and Sign Shakers At Risk For Car Accidents in Port St. Lucie

City Council members are looking into enacting a new ban in Port St. Lucie. The new ordinance could potentially stop people, including charitable organizations and newspaper vendors, from using the medians on popular roadways to collect contributions and to sell newspapers from passing motorists, according to TC Palm.

The Council says that these roadside activities are impeding the flow of traffic, endangering the public and increasing the risks of Port St. Lucie car accidents.
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Mayor JoAnn Faiella says that the Police Department will be monitoring these popular intersections for six months. He’ll direct the officers to return to the area if the soliciting continues to be a problem.

Our Port St. Lucie car accident attorneys understand that the ban was first brought to discussion after a number of resident complaints. Drivers voiced their concern about these solicitors and the distractions they’re providing. These distractions can drastically increase the risk of injury to drivers or the people themselves, who are unguarded from traffic. These solicitors or the companies they work for may be liable for these types of accidents.

The Port St. Lucie Police Department and many departments in the surrounding areas have agreed that a ban is needed to help ensure the safety of both motorists and these solicitors.

According to the Port St Lucie Police Chief Brian Reuther, there’s no data supporting the claim that roadside solicitations contribute to accidents. These roadside businessmen are a relatively new trend. He still agrees though that no one should be standing on the side of the road, especially at some of our busiest intersections.

The St. Lucie County Commission is also considering a ban like this one, only it would solely affect its unincorporated areas. The ban would be enforced on every day but Sunday. This would allow vendors to distribute newspapers and organizations to collect charitable donations.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen. If there’s a death, it’ll be penned on us,” said Councilman Jack Kelly.

A similar discussion is taking place in Cape Coral, where city officials are looking into banning sign shakers in their city. If you drive down any main roadway in the Cape, you’re sure to see tons of sign shakers. These workers are holding these signs in an attempt to grab your attention. Unfortunately, when these signs have your attention, the road doesn’t.

To help prevent distracted driving and to reduce the risks of accidents on those Southwest Florida roadways, Cape Coral City Council is looking into completely banning these sign shakers.

“You hate to take a job from anybody but you don’t want to put them in harm’s way,” said John Jacobsen, Community Redevelopment Agency Executive Director.

For many local companies, this is about the only form of advertisement they can afford right now to lure in the customers. One Cash for Gold location in the Cape currently employs 25 sign shakers and reports the investment is paying off.

There’s one problem with the ban though, carrying a sign along our roadways is a First Amendment right, so there’s only so much the Council is able to do.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, Coral Gables, or in any of the surrounding areas, call the Law Offices of Freeman & Mallard for legal representation. For a free consultation call 800-529-2368.

Additional Resources:

Port St. Lucie Council tables discussion on solicitation ban, asks police to monitor streets for six months, by Christin Erazo, TC Palm

More Blog Entries:

Fatal Car Accident in Lake Worth Urges Officials to Push Distracted Driving Regulations, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, September 11, 2011

Lack of distracted driving laws a concern for Florida drivers, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, December 12, 2010

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