A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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An 82-year-old Hawthorne man was killed last week when he was crushed while his tractor towed another tractor in a pasture in Putnam County.

Just before 1 p.m., the man was using a Masse tractor to tow a Ford tractor from a field at 125 McMeekin Lake Lane for repair. The man and another person were moving the Ford from a pasture and the inoperable machine failed to stop when the man stopped his machine, according to a release by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Emergency crews were called to the location about six miles east of Hawthorne, and Putnam County paramedics took the man to UF Health Shands Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No charges will be filed at this time, according to reports.

Thousands of people are injured or killed each year due to tractor accidents. Tractor accidents can happen in a variety of ways, but some of the most common causes of tractor accidents include:

  • Tractor rollovers
  • Road collisions
  • Being crushed or run over by a tractor
  • Injuries caused to a third party by operator error
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Defective parts
  • Manufacturing or design defects

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One person is dead after an Amtrak train struck a vehicle in Auburndale Monday evening.

A 44-year-old man died in the accident that occurred on Stadium Road near Bennett Street.

According to witnesses, the arms were down and the lights were flashing at the tracks. Cars were apparently stopped on both sides and the driver of the car allegedly went around other traffic and crossed the railroad tracks.

The investigation into this accident is ongoing.

A train wreck is usually a catastrophic event that often results in multiple injuries and a high number of fatalities. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration reports that there are close to 14,000 train wrecks annually. Of these train accidents, around 850 people die every year and another 9,500 people are injured. Unfortunately, train wrecks, railroad crossing accidents, and deaths and injuries as a result of collisions between trains and cars occur quite frequently.

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Prosecutors have decided not to file any charges in the May 13 death of a 16-month-old girl who was found unresponsive after spending most of the day locked in her father’s car.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported that the father forgot to take the child to daycare Tuesday morning and left his daughter in the hot car all day.

The girl was found not breathing around 3:15 p.m. on May 13 when he got home and a family member inside asked him where the girl was. He realized then that she was still inside the car and ran to get her. He performed CPR on the girl, but when paramedics arrived, the girl was dead.

The man was not under the influence of alcohol. Police and prosecutors found that the man did not intentionally leave the child in the car.

“We decided that it’s not something we’re going to prosecute because there was no egregious behavior on his part, and to be honest with you, it’s going to be hard to punish him more then he’s being punished right now,” said Assistant State Attorney Sean Brewer of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, based in Gainesville.

According to research conducted by the Department of Earth & Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University, at least fifteen hot car-related child deaths occurred in 2014. The Department documented 44 deaths of children in hot vehicles in 2013 and have logged 621 cases since 1998. The research the Department has collected shows that in half of hot vehicle death cases, children were forgotten by their parent or caregiver. Less than a third of cases were the result of children playing in an unattended car, and less than a fifth of cases were the result of adults intentionally leaving children locked inside sweltering vehicles. Research also shows that criminal charges are only brought against responsible parties in about half of all death cases.

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A motorcyclist was flown to a hospital Friday evening after he crashed into a tree in Weston, according to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.

According to police, the crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of Royal Palm Boulevard and Town Center Boulevard.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue landed on the Weston Hills Country Club golf course to pick up the man and take him to Broward Health Medical Center as a Level 2 trauma, according to reports.

Police said that the man, whose name and age were not released, suffered injuries that were potentially serious but did not appear critical or life-threatening.

While this crash is likely the subject of an ongoing investigation, those injured in motorcycle crashes can potentially file civil litigation seeking damages under certain circumstances. In many motorcycle accidents cases, it is possible for an injured person to seek compensation if it is reasonable to claim that another person’s negligent conduct resulted in the accident. In certain scenarios, passengers may seek monetary damages for medical bills, pain and suffering and possible lost wages.

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A Carnival Cruise Lines employee was arrested in Florida on Saturday for allegedly sexually abusing a male teenage passenger.

According to the Brevard County police, the 46-year-old steward on the Carnival Valor, was arrested when the ship docked at Port Canaveral, east of Orlando. He has been charged with sexual battery of a person under 16 years of age and lewd and lascivious molestation, and is being held on $95,000 bail, the statement said.

The victim’s father reported to ship security on Friday that the man started a conversation with the teenage boy while he was using the sauna and then followed the teen to a shower area where the alleged sexual conduct occurred, according to a Carnival spokesperson and police.

4781841013_a84e99dabd_zOnce the victim’s father learned of the alleged incident, he and other passengers detained the man until security arrived, according to police.

Police said that Carnival Valor security reported the alleged crime to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday morning before the ship docked.

According to a statement, Carnival Cruise Lines staff was cooperating with police and the FBI had provided “full support and assistance” to the victim while he was still on the ship.

Controlling and preventing crimes on board cruise ships is one of the largest problems that the cruise ship industry faces. Each year, dozens of cruise ship passengers fall victim to physical and sexual assaults onboard cruise ships due to crew members and other passengers.

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A man fell about three stories at a construction site on International Drive Thursday afternoon.

According to an Orange County spokeswoman, the man was conscious when firefighters reached him.

The man, in his 40s, was taken by helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center, according to reports.

The construction site is near International Drive and World Center Drive.

He was under a trauma alert, which means he was in serious or critical condition.

79323694_7f5559efb2_zIt is not clear how the man fell from scaffolding.

Scaffolds are temporary structures that are designed to elevate a construction worker and materials to a height. Usually scaffolds are used to walk around a structure.

Improper connections and sharp corners can result in minor scaffolding-related injuries like cuts and bruises. Plank failures, falling planks, pipe failures, falling pipes, support failures, falling supports, falling objects and falls to the ground can lead to severe scaffolding-related injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, amputations, fractures, paralysis, nerve damage and wrongful death.

If you or a loved have been injured while working at a jobsite, you and your family may be entitled to receive financial compensation for health care, medical expenses, medical bills, loss of income and pain and suffering.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a press release regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fiat Chrysler Enforcement Action.

Fiat Chrysler has acknowledged violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and admitted to failing to handle the required repairs on vehicles with safety defects. They have agreed to federal oversight, buy backs and a civil penalty.

They are facing a $105 million civil penalty- the largest penalty ever imposed by the NHTSA.

Violation of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act

NHTSA officials pointed out various problems with Fiat Chrysler’s execution of 23 vehicle safety recalls, covering more than 11 million defective vehicles. The automaker violated the Safety Act in three ways:

  1. Timely Recall Remedies
  2. Notification to Vehicle Owners as well as Dealerships
  3. Notification to the NHTSA

Fiat Chrysler In the Future

3451915266_997c1357b3_zFiat Chrysler is facing significant civil penalties. The automaker will have to pay an initial $70 million in cash, and spend another $20 million on meeting performance requirements in the Consent Order. Another $15 million could be taken if the independent monitor uncovers any further Safety Act or Consent Order violations. The NHTSA is sending out a powerful message to Fiat Chrysler as well as other automakers: You cannot place profits above consumer safety, and you cannot violate the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Are You a Jeep or Chrysler Owner?

Owners of certain Jeep and Chrysler vehicles will have the chance to sell their defective vehicles back to Fiat Chrysler, under the Consent Order. More than half a million automobile owners with vehicles that have defective suspension parts will be eligible to sell these vehicles back. More than a million Jeep owners will also be able to trade their vehicles in for above market value prices or will receive financial incentives to get their car’s fixed. To find out if your vehicle is under recall, check Safercar.gov’s VIN search tool.

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Since 2001, the first full week of August has been dedicated to National Stop on Red Week. This year, National Stop on Red Week is August 2-8. The purpose of this week is to promote safe driving practices, which include always stopping at a red light.

Red light running is a pretty big issue across the United States. In fact, red light running is the leading cause of urban car accidents. It may be surprising, but one out of every three people knows someone who was killed in a red light collision. Red light crashes are responsible for around 900 deaths and 165,000 injuries each year.

A couple of traffic lights installations with the red ones turned on and the green and yellow off captured against a blue sky with several white clouds scattered over.

In 2013, the latest year for which complete information is currently available, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that:

  • Red light accidents resulted in 697 fatalities. Nearly half of the people killed were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists other than the one who ran the red light.
  • Another 127,000 people were injured in red light accidents.
  • Failing to stop for a red light, stop sign, or all other forms of traffic control is the most common type of crash in urban areas.

While running a red light may save you two minutes, stopping at a red light can actually save your life. Please join our Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton and do your part to stop Florida red light accidents. Here are a few tips to always remember when behind the wheel:

  • Always stop when the light is red, no matter what.
  • If you plan to turn right at an intersection where right turns are permitted at red lights, always stop and check for cars and pedestrians before making the turn.
  • If the light turns yellow while you are approaching an intersection, slow down and stop. Do not try and speed through the intersection in order to beat the red light.

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The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that Cruise giant Carnival Corp. will pay more than $400,000 in penalties and damages as part of a settlement over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The parent company of Carnival, Princess and Holland America also has agreed to make changes to 42 existing vessels at the three brands to comply with ADA regulations. Seven other vessels in various stages of design and construction also will be surveyed and, if necessary, updated to comply with the regulations.

There are another 13 ships operated by the brands that could be subject to possible changes if they continue to be in service in U.S. ports in four years.

The settlement calls for 3 percent of cabins on the ships to be accessible to passengers with disabilities. The cabins should fall into one of three categories: fully accessible cabins, fully accessible cabins with a single side approach to the bed and ambulatory accessible cabins.

Carnival Corp. also agreed to create brand standards that address an array of accessibility issues, provide ADA training to employees and ensure reservation systems allow for people with disabilities to book accessible cabins.

The company will also appoint an ADA compliance officer at the executive level as well as ADA responsibility officers at its Carnival brand and at the Holland America Group, which includes Holland America and Princess. An officer on each ship also will be appointed to resolve ADA-related issues.

6306304003_63c3131719_zThis settlement agreement comes after a Justice Department investigation of complaints that Carnival Corp. failed to properly provide and reserve accessible cabins for individuals with mobility disabilities as is required under the ADA. Additionally, the company also was accused of failing to reasonably modify policies to accommodate individuals with disabilities; afford individuals with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in programs and services, including embarkation and disembarkation; and provide effective communication during muster and emergency drills.

According to the Justice Department, Carnival Corp. will pay a civil penalty of $55,000 to the United States and $350,000 in damages to individuals harmed by past discrimination. The agency says Carnival Corp. officials cooperated during the investigation.

Carnival Corp. says it is pleased with the settlement, and released the following statement:

“We have historically maintained a strong focus on accessibility and have a longstanding track record of meeting the needs of all our guests. We will continue to do so with even more enhancements in staff training, accessibility policies and communications, as well as additional shipboard accessibility features.”

Regardless of the specific cause of a cruise ship accident, the injuries passengers may suffer on these excursions can be extremely serious. It is important that the individual or company responsible is held accountable for their wrongdoing.

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