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Poor road design linked to Florida car accidents

Residents of a Sebring mobile home park are turning to the media to address what they see as a traffic safety issue going overlooked in their community by county officials and local law enforcement, Tampa Bay Online reports.

During the last six years, residents say, four Florida drivers have crashed their cars into one of the mobile homes along Whisper Lake Blvd.; destroying property, killing pets and terrifying residents. Many park residents believe that at 45 m.p.h. the speed limit is too high to be safe along the curvy residential road. Others say inadequate enforcement of the speed limit is the problem.

Whatever the case, both excessive speed and poor road design have been linked to each prior Florida car accident.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys know there are many causes of serious and fatal car accidents. Defective roads can be one of them. Missing street signs, inoperative signals, overgrown vegetation, missing or defective guardrails and inappropriate speed limits may also contribute to an accident. In such cases, a local government or Home Owners Association my be partially liable.

The latest incident of car-meets-house happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 17 when the couple living at 1100 Whisper Lake Blvd. awoke to find a dark blue Acura on its side in their Florida room. The driver was gone.

The park manager told Tampa Bay Online that after the last car accident the attorney for a group of residents contacted the county asking that guardrails be installed along the road. Commissioners declined the request. Not enough occurrences, the park manager said.

During that crash – in March 2010 – the struck mobile home erupted in flames. When the homeowner tried to put the fire out, he realized the crash had taken out his water hook-up. He said that the driver’s auto insurance paid some, but not enough to restore the home.

And about that. There is a significant difference between a car striking a brick-and-mortar home and a mobile home, like those at the park. A car plowing through a mobile home will do a lot more structural damage and damage to water and electric hook-ups. And mobile home occupants are far more vulnerable to injury or death in the event a car does come barreling off the roadway and into their living room.

County officials say its frequency not number of accidents that determines whether or not the County will put up guardrails. As for speeding, that’s a law enforcement issue. Cops say that with current budget cuts, the Florida Highway Patrol no longer has a traffic enforcement unit. But, they will ramp up patrols if residents call and request the service.

We are betting if cars kept driving off the road into a golf course community, commissioners may have been more prone to taking action. An experienced accident lawyer should be called to collect damages. Next commissioners will no doubt be hollering about the high cost of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

One online commenter to the TBO article suggested that if the county doesn’t want to spend the money on guardrails, well placed rumble strips would probably do the trick. “There is no doubt about it, highway design flaws cause deaths.”

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2009 careless driving contributed to 386 fatal Florida car accidents and 49,568 accidents involving injury. Florida drivers tagged for exceeding safe or stated speed limits were linked to another 232 fatal crashes and 3,651 injury accidents.

The Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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