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A 15-year-old Timber Creek High School student was killed in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident after he was struck by a motorcyclist who fled the scene near Avalon Park Boulevard and Pellicer Drive in east Orange County. The teen was reportedly skateboarding in the street with friends when the motorcyclist, later identified as a 35-year-old man who was allegedly drunk at the time of the crash and fled on foot. The Orlando Sentinel reports police found him hiding in a nearby backyard and arrested him.pedestrian accident

Pedestrian accidents are an all-too-common problem in Orlando and throughout Florida, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries every year. According to a new analysis from the Governors Highway Safety Association, it’s getting worse – both in the Sunshine State and across the nation.

The GHSA’s Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State, using 2016 preliminary data, reveals a 25 percent increase in pedestrian accident fatalities in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015. Early figures from 2016 show the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 increased by 11 percent, as compared with those who died in 2015 crashes. That is the largest yearly increase in both the number and percentage of pedestrian accident deaths in four decades – since national records have been kept.  Continue reading →

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When you buy a used car, you may factor in a few needed maintenance repairs into the cost. However, you don’t expect that the very device intended to save your life could actually maim or kill you.airbag1-226x300

However, a recent crash in Nevada highlighted an unfortunate hole in the efforts of the government to remove dangerous exploding airbag inflators made by Takata off the road. Specifically, there is nothing in the law that requires these devices be removed from wrecked cars and then reinstalled into new ones.

In the Nevada case, an 18-year-old woman’s trachea was punctured when shrapnel came spewing at her from her airbag when she crashed in Las Vegas. The collision was deemed relatively minor. The greatest threat to the driver was the airbag – the very contraption designed to save her life in the event of a serious crash. She nearly died, but survived and is still recovering. Surgeons had to remove several pieces that severely damaged her vocal cords. Continue reading →

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Florida has been ranked the second-worst state in the country when it comes to distracted driving, tailing only Louisiana for the dubious distinction. iphone

The study was conducted by the online insurance firm EverQuote Inc. Although we normally wouldn’t highlight the findings of an auto insurance company as any sort of gospel, EverDrive, the  motion-sensing app used to conduct the analysis gleaned information from some 2.7 million trips and 230 million miles driven. Plus, these same kinds of results have been underscored in previous studies on distracted driving.

What the findings showed was that more than 9 in 10 drivers across the country who have cell phones used those phones while in a moving car at some point in the previous month. Study authors created a point system that analyzed certain maneuvers, such as bard braking, speeding, aggressive turning, sudden acceleration and other movements while the phone was in use (not in sleep mode). Based on this calculation, Florida was ranked the second-worst.  Continue reading →

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Although we often think of distracted drivers as being teens exchanging light-hearted banter via text messages, the truth is one of the major causes of distracted driving is the constant demand top stay connected at work. Employers expect their workers to be available at a moment’s notice – whether by email, text message or phone call. This creates a powerful and constant incentive for employees to be checking messages and responding to calls. iphone

This is not only dangerous to employees, but also to the rest of us who share the road with them.

Although many company leaders are socially aware and mindful, they are also concerned about their bottom line. That’s why they push workers to maintain this level of availability. But it’s also why they may be receptive to a growing chorus of advocacy directed at the business community to reduce distracted driving. These types of crashes could make companies vulnerable to civil liability. Continue reading →

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A pickup truck collided head-on with a church van recently, killing a total of 13 people on a rural road in Texas. iphone

Now, after a witness asserted he had seen the truck moving erratically on the two-lane road just before the crash, the pickup truck operator admitted he was texting and driving. The witness had perceived the pickup truck driver’s maneuvers behind the wheel to be so dangerous, he called authorities and was following the truck at the time of the fatal collision. Just before the crash, he told dispatchers that they needed to send someone soon to get him off the road, “before he hits somebody.”

The witness watched in horror as the truck slammed into the bus. Soon thereafter, he spoke with the 20-year-old pickup truck driver, who was injured but survived.  The driver reportedly apologized repeatedly. The witness said, “Son, do you know what you just did?” to which the pickup truck driver again apologized and said he was, “Just texting.”  Continue reading →

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Two students from Florida State University will killed one recent weekend in a pileup on Florida’s Turnpike. highway rescue

As the Tallahassee Democrat reports, the chain reaction crash claimed the lives of a 20-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man and also resulted in more than a dozen injuries. The Florida Highway Patrol reports the two decedents are from Weston and both graduated from Cypress Bay High School.

Any time there is a chain reaction crash, there are often serious injuries, particularly when they happen on the highway, because of the high speeds and number of vehicles involved. Chain reaction crashes can be difficult in terms of financial recovery because it is not always clear who was at-fault. Making this determination typically requires extensive investigation, and it may be that several parties are to blame. This is why it is so essential for individuals in these cases to hire an attorney with experience.  Continue reading →

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Pedestrian deaths in Central Florida are rising at an alarming pace. The Orlando Sentinel recently reported there have been two dozen people killed in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties just so far this year. crosswalk

That’s six more than compared to this same time last year, when there were 18 – a 33 percent increase.

This is seemingly a troubling continuation of a trend reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wherein the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes rose 9.5 percent from 2014 to 2015, reaching 5,376 that year. This figure, the most recent for national statistics, is the highest its been in two decades.  Continue reading →

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Being a pedestrian in Florida is dangerous. The risk of being hit by a car while walking is increasing everywhere, but the Sunshine state has one of the highest rates of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in the country. This risk is exacerbated by the proliferation of hybrid and electric vehicles. crosswalk

Although these cars are great for the environment, they are not so great for people on foot. The reason has to do with the fact that they are so quiet, they “sneak up” on pedestrians, who might otherwise hear the vehicle approach and take appropriate protective measures. The risk is especially out-sized for people who are blind, visually impaired or elderly.

Engine noise in these vehicles is next-to-nothing, usually limited to sounds generated by wind resistance or tire noises – and even that occurs only at moderate speeds. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a new rule requiring that by September 2019, all newly-manufactured electric vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less make some audible noise when traveling either forward or in reverse at speeds of 19 mph or less.  Continue reading →

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In October 2015, a 30-year-old woman involved in a horrific motorcycle accident on I-95 in Miami lost half her leg. Her friend, another female motorcyclist who was riding alongside, was also seriously injured when the two were struck by a Toyota Corolla whose driver barreled through a gap in the orange pylons.motorcycle

Now, both women have filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Transportation and DBI Services (the contractor that maintains the lanes) as well as the allegedly negligent driver.

The plaintiff whose leg had to be amputated just above her knee also needed hip surgery. Both motorcycles were destroyed. An attorney representing both women alleges FDOT and DBI have a duty to maintain the roadways properly for the safety of all motorists. However, he alleges defendants breached this duty with regard to the express lanes, where this crash occurred, resulting in a situation that is both extremely and unnecessarily dangerous for drivers. In particular, the delineator poles, which are supposed to keep drivers in their respective lanes, are not properly maintained. This means motorists are weaving in and out of lanes of extremely fast-moving traffic. This, plaintiffs allege, was the direct and proximate cause of their injuries.  Continue reading →

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Florida’s distracted driving laws are weak, failing to protect motorists or deter violators, and are driving up auto insurance rates. brokenphone

That’s according to several reports released recently, including a three-part series by WTSP 10 News in Tampa. It’s well-established that Florida has one of the weakest anti-distracted driving laws in the country. It was one of the last states to pass a measure outlawing texting while driving, and it’s one of just nine states to make the offense secondary, meaning officers can’t stop a driver based solely on observing a violation of F.S. 316.305. Fines for violations are just $30 (littering carries a $100 fine), and they don’t result in any points on one’s driver’s license.

Approximately 3,500 Americans were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2015, and the number climbs each year. However, Florida leaders aren’t preparing to change that anytime soon, prompting WTSP reporters to delve into their reasoning why.  Continue reading →

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