Articles Posted in Car Accidents

According to projections from AAA, there will be nearly 4 million more people travelling on U.S. roadways this Thanksgiving (2021) compared to last year. This means that if you are planning a road trip that you should expect to see a lot more vehicles sharing the roads and a surge in traffic.

Experts believe that open U.S. borders combined with more people being vaccinated from COVID19 and the long holiday weekend means more people hitting the roads this year. A November AAA report predicts that there will be 48.3 million people making a road trip this Thanksgiving.

While you should anticipate more congestion on the roads this year, you can best prepare yourself for a smooth Thanksgiving journey by leaving early. You can expect delays, so it is best to leave in the morning. The best time to depart is after 9 p.m. on Wednesday, but before 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and before noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Car accidents are a big concern this time of year, especially with so many travelers on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns all motorists to eliminate any risky driving behaviors that have become more common since the pandemic began, such as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol or without wearing a seat belt.

The NHTSA has estimated that 20,160 people have died in car accidents for the first half of 2021, which is an increase of 18% from 2020.

On a similar note, Thanksgiving weekend has shown a trend of more motor drunk driving motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. The NHTSA shows that around 800 deaths were caused by drunk drivers over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from 2015-2019.

Wherever you are this holiday weekend, our Florida Car Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to stay safe and get to your destinations safely. Not all traffic is equal, so here is a list of the cities with the worst traffic on the day before Thanksgiving and the worst times to travel:

Atlanta: The worst time to travel is between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. and Interstate 85 South from Clairmont Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is anticipated to have the most congestion.

car-g7a9a9e4de_1920-300x200Boston: Steer clear of Interstate 93 North from Quincy Market to Massachusetts Route 28 between 1 and 3 p.m.

Chicago: Avoid Interstate 290 West from Morgan Street to Wolfe Road from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Detroit: The worst travel times are from 2-4 p.m. on Interstate 96 West from 6 Mile Road to Walled Lake.

Houston: Avoid Interstate 10 West from Sjolander Road to Texas State Highway 330 from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.

Los Angeles: Stay away from Interstate 5 South from Colorado Street to Florence Avenue between 3:45 and 5:45 p.m.

New York: Keep away from Interstate 495 East from Borden Avenue to Little Neck Parkway from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

San Francisco: From 4-6 p.m. Interstate 80 East from Interstate 580 to San Pablo Dam Road is expected to be heavily congested.

Seattle: From 4-6 p.m. Interstate 5 South from Washington State Route 18 to Washington State Route 7 is expected to be heavily congested.

Washington, D.C.: From 2-4 p.m. avoid Interstate 95 South from Interstate 395 to Virginia State Route 123.
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With back to school season here it is important to address the driving challenges this brings, such as more congestion near schools and in neighborhoods, more yellow school buses on the roadways, more kids and parents walking, and just the added need to exercise a bit more caution. New teen drivers hitting the road to drive themselves to school are an additional safety hazard. Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for teens. The CDC estimates that 2,400 teens in the United States between the ages of 13 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 and another 258,000 needed to be treated for their injuries at the emergency room. 

Special attention this time of year is very necessary to prevent simple and avoidable accidents. Here are a few safety reminders from our Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to keep you and your loved ones get safely back to school. 

School Buses

For most Americans, Memorial Day Weekend is a chance to enjoy a three-day weekend and celebrate the people that have fought for our freedom and this country. Many use this time to relax and recharge by hosting backyard barbecues, taking vacations, and spending time with loved ones. With the Covid-19 vaccine being available to most, many have already had at least one dose of the vaccine and are feeling more comfortable with places reopening and resuming some type of normalcy. However, Memorial Day Weekend is considered a dangerous holiday for those travelling on U.S. roadways as many motorists engage in irresponsible and reckless behavior. 

Estimates for Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day is associated with many deaths and injuries from unnecessary accidents. This year is no different. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that we will see 415 deaths this Memorial Day holiday weekend and another 47,300 injuries from car accidents. 

AAA Travel expects the U.S. to see a larger number of people travelling this year when compared to last year. More than 37 million people are anticipated to travel 50 or more miles from home from May 27 through May 31, which is a 60% jump from last year. 

destin-1596272_1920-300x200Planning to Travel this Memorial Day Weekend? Follow these Tips 

  • Get a good night’s sleep before heading out on a long road trip. If you are travelling a long distance, then remember to take regular breaks and do not drive when you are tired. Fatigued driver is just as dangerous as drunk or drugged driving. 
  • Get an early start or allow yourself adequate time to travel to your destination. Plan for traffic and don’t let your timing get you upset or distracted. 
  • Put your cell phone and other devices away so that they cannot distract you from your main task at hand: driving. 
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Plan for a designated driver or call a cab or take an Uber or Lyft. 
  • Maintain a good distance from the car or vehicle in front of you. 

How Can I Avoid a Collision this Memorial Day Weekend?

There are many safety precautions that you can take, which we have outlined below, but remember, you cannot control the actions and behaviors of other drivers. A few important tips for staying safe on the roads this holiday weekend include, but are not limited to:

  • Always buckle up no matter how far or short the distance you are travelling. Seat belts save lives. Make sure your kids are buckled up as well or in their appropriate safety seats. 
  • If you plan to drink once you get to your destination, then assign a designated driver or use public transportation or rideshare programs, like Lyft or Uber. You have lots of options, but getting behind the wheel drunk or drugged should never be one of them. 
  • Stay off your phone when driving – this is a major distraction and can lead to serious accidents. 

What Do I Do If I Am Involved in a Car Crash Over Memorial Day Weekend?  Continue reading

Even though 2020 brought us the novel coronavirus and placed the world on lockdown, the National Safety Council released a new estimate that 42,000 people were killed in car crashes and another 4.8 million were injured. 

These numbers show an 8 percent increase from 2019, which happens to be the largest yearly increase in nearly a century. It should also be noted that the average number of miles driven dropped by 13 percent.  

Experts believe that because less people were on the roads commuting to and from work resulted in more speeding, which ultimately resulted in more traffic fatalities. The irony is that congested traffic from the daily commuters was actually keeping people safer. 

Many state leaders are calling this a U.S. public health crisis and looking to make a change, Laura Friedman, a California Assembly member, has introduced a bill for 2021 to reduce speed limits as a way to combat the growing number of traffic deaths. 

driving-407181_1920-300x200It seems this has been a growing problem over the past 10 years, but the COVID-19 pandemic managed to place a spotlight on it. Lawmakers from states coast to coast are starting to introduce various bills aimed at lowering speed limits, promoting pedestrian/bike safety, and setting up speed camera programs. 

The proposals show various perspectives on how to better manage traffic. Traffic engineers along with transportation safety advocates are also looking at designing roads that will help motorists get to where they are going more safely as opposed to faster. 

It is unknown to what extent these new bills will take effect. Certain states are looking at letting cities and counties have more control over their speed limits and other states like Florida, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island want to let their communities use speed cameras. 

According to the National Safety Council, the large surge in fatalities started showing quickly after lockdown orders went into effect for the country. 

California said that citations issued for speeding over 100 miles per hour almost doubled during 2020 reaching a whopping 31,600.  

While states want to introduce new protocols to keep everyone safe, lawmakers do realize it is a delicate balance between protecting communities and over policing them. Wealthier communities usually have more walkable sidewalks and wider streets, while lower-income areas are located by freeways. Placing cameras on mostly streets in low-income areas could mean that the speed programs are not entirely fair, even though speed cameras do not discriminate by skin color. 

Traditional policing on speeding has not been successful in the past, so lawmakers are still working out the kinks on what should be done to make roads safer across America. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities involving pedestrians like runners, bikers, walkers, and others trying to remain active have also increased. Even though many Americans will be heading back to work in the near future, many will remain working from home so it is now more important than ever to pay attention to your surroundings regardless of the time of day. You want to limit the number of distractions in your car, put your phone down, pay attention to speed limits, and keep your eyes on the road at all times. Everyone must do their part to keep our communities safe. 

What Are Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Florida? 

According to the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida’s car accidents are usually caused by: 

  • Distracted driving 
  • Speeding 
  • Disobeying traffic laws
  • Reckless driving 
  • Drunk driving 
  • Poor road conditions
  • Bad weather

Contact Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton

Regardless of the circumstances leading up to your motor vehicle collision, if you want to protect your legal rights and pursue justified compensation for your losses then you need to seek legal help from our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton. As skilled personal injury trial attorneys, we have a deep understanding on how to prove liability in auto accident cases and make sure our clients’ rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law.  Continue reading

Having the right evidence to back up your statements after being involved in a Florida car accident can make all the difference in your claim to recover financial compensation. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” has never been more true in these situations as you have hard proof to further back up exactly what happened. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, which means they are not in the business of just forking over money to every person who makes a claim. They will use various tactics to delay, deny, or underpay car accident claims unless they have hard proof, like photographic evidence, that supports your version of what happened. 

After a car accident, your next steps are critical for the outcome of your personal injury claim. Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know first hand how vital photographic evidence can be to a personal injury claim, which is why we believe that taking pictures is the most important step after making sure that all injured parties are provided medical care. Photos are viewed as credible pieces of evidence, which means that insurance companies are much more likely to provide you with a proper payout if you have good photographic evidence to support your claim. 

We believe that by taking pictures of these 3 things you are much more likely to have a winning claim on your hands: 

A pastor at New Life Evangelistic Center was hit and killed Wednesday morning by a vehicle who fled the scene.  

The man was hit around 7 a.m. as he was crossing the street Crystal Springs Road near Hammond Boulevard. The driver did not stop to check on the man. 

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the driver of the car that hit the man. 

As parents, we all want our kids to be kept safe from any dangers or harm. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among children over the age of 4, and nearly 5,000 kids die in motor vehicle crashes each year. The numbers are far too alarming, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has outlined guidelines for children to follow when riding in the car. 

Car Seat Guidelines

Children should ride in the backseat of a car until the age of 13. Infants and toddlers should be placed in rear-facing car seats until they reach the  age of 2. If they have outgrown their rear-facing seat before the age of 2, then the AAP says they can be moved into a forward-facing car seat. Once a child is riding in a forward-facing car seat with a harness, they should remain this way for as long a possible – up to the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat. After they have outgrown their forward-facing seat, they can then be placed in a booster seat, which is designed to help seat belts fit their smaller bodies correctly. Seat belts are designed for adults, so until a child is 4 feet, 9 inches, they should remain in the booster seat (roughly 8-12 years old). 

This information serves as an excellent reminder to parents on how to keep their kids safe when travelling to and from their destinations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that every 32 seconds a child under the age of 13 was involved in a motor vehicle crash in 2018. The important takeaway here is that proper car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can protect our children in the event of an unfortunate car accident. 

safety-300x300While most parents believe their car seats and booster seats are installed correctly, the shocking reality is that 46% (that is almost half) are not. Child Passenger Safety Week is currently going on – running from September 20-26.  During this week there will be certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians available to the public in every state offering free help and education on properly using infant and toddler car seats, child booster seats, and seat belts. These techs are around to help educate everyone on choosing the right car seat/booster seat for a child, how to install them correctly, and how to properly use the seat every time your child goes for a ride. Another important safety tip they will provide is how to register the car or booster seat with the manufacturer so that you can be notified in the event of a safety recall.  

If you need helpful information on choosing the right car seat for your child’s needs, you can find it here

Child Passenger Safety Week 2020 ends with National Seat Check Saturday on September 26. Due to COVID-19, more techs will be available to assist with virtual checks this year for Child Passenger Safety Week. You can view where to find a virtual seat check here

The NHTSA is also stressing the importance of children dying from heat stroke during this year’s Child Passenger Safety Week. They are urging all parents and caregivers to remember their slogan – Park. Look. Lock. In recent years there have been more child deaths than ever from children being left or becoming trapped inside a hot vehicle. The majority of hot car deaths, 54%, happen when a parent or caregiver forgets they have a child in the backseat of their car. So far in 2020, there have been 20 child deaths reported involving vehicular heatstroke. 2019 was the second deadliest year for pediatric vehicular heatstroke, with 52 children killed because they were left behind in the backseat of a car or gained access to an unlocked car while no one was watching. 

Parents and caregivers are urged to develop good habits with children in their cars and always look around their car before leaving it as well as locking the doors once everyone is safely out. 

Bystanders are also urged to help prevent pediatric vehicular heat strokes. If you see a child alone in a car, you should do your part to save their life and call 911. The important thing to do in these situations is to get help immediately as the child’s life is in imminent danger. 

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Sky Drive Inc.,a Japanese company, has completed a successful public test drive of a flying car. 

The company executed the public demo on August 25 at the Toyota Test Field, which is the car company’s base camp and one of the largest in Japan. 

The flying car demo was the first of its kind in Japan. 

The car, named SD-03, was outfitted with a pilot behind the wheel who flew the car around the test field for four minutes as the public watched. 

SkyDrive has been around for two years. The company is thrilled with the success of the test drive and hopes to commercialize the aircraft. The goal is for flying cars to be accessible means of transportation to everyone. This is SkyDrive’s hope: to offer a safe, secure, and comfortable new lifestyle of operating a vehicle in the sky. 

The SD-03 is the smallest VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing vehicle) in the world. It is about the size of two cars and has a total of eight motors for safety precautions should an emergency with the vehicle happen. 

The company said more test drives are on the horizon and that the flying car will soon be a part of normal, everyday life. SkyDrive will keep going with its plans for flying cars and will work towards meeting the ever changing industry standards. 

With the success of the first test drive, the company says it is likely that the flying car will be tested outside of theToyota Test field by the end of 2020.

Reports indicate that the company is on a mission to safely launch the flying car by 2023. No price tag for this flying car has been announced just yet. 

Flying cars are here, which might seem futuristic for some, but the reality is more companies have developed these VTOLs and Miami even has a flying car port located at the Paramount Miami Worldcenter, which is a 60-story luxury condo tower. For now, the rooftop serves as an observation deck for its residents. Once flying cars are here, the rooftop will be equipped with a landing pad and the observation deck will be transformed into a sky lobby for those travelling by air. 

The rideshare company Uber is also getting into the flying car game. News 

reports have indicated that the company is set to be the first ride share company in the sky. They apparently have several manufacturers designing and testing VTOLs. There is no word yet on when the company thinks they will be operating in the sky. 

A Dutch company called PAL-V has flying vehicles available for pre order for $600,000. 

While flying cars are here and making significant headway, it is unlikely that these VTOLs will be available for the public to be transported in anytime soon. The reality is that lawmakers would have to develop regulations for car flights and work out lots of details, like licenses, training, insurance requirements, manufacturer regulations, air traffic plans, etc. 

Flying cars will definitely be a cool thing to see and maybe someday, sooner than later, these VTOLs will be available at a price that everyday consumers can afford. But in the meantime, regular car accidents happen everyday across the United States. Most of these accidents stem from driver negligence, such as distracted driving, driver fatigue, and operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help you and your loved ones fight for just compensation for your injuries and losses after a serious car crash. 

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wrong-way-167535_1280-300x200The Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed that a man was killed in a wrong way collision early Saturday morning. 

The scene of the accident was along E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. 

The incident report documented that the 28-year-old Davenport man was driving a sedan heading west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 192 near Crabgrass Road at approximately 3:20 a.m. His vehicle smashed into another car that was heading east, according to reports. 

The man identified as the wrong way driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The other motorist, a 21-year-old man, and his male passenger, 23, both suffered serious injuries. 

Another driver sharing the road at the same time of the crash said she had to swerve off the road to avoid hitting the two men who were climbing out of the car. 

A truck driver stopped to help pull the men from the wreckage. 

The report did mention that all three of the men were wearing seatbelts, but no further information on the crash is available. 

Wrong Way Driving Statistics 

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration estimates that wrong way collisions result in 300 to 400 deaths annually across the U.S. This number only represents 1 percent of traffic fatalities every year, but the fact that most of these accidents result in head-on collisions at very fast speeds, they are usually more severe than other types of car crashes. 

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 2020 Crash Dashboard (which is considered preliminary data), Florida has already seen 176,317 motor vehicle crashes from 1/1/20-7/28/20. Of these collisions, 1,672 fatalities have been reported and another 109,328 people have suffered injuries. The month of January saw the highest number of traffic accidents with 32,548 total crashes and April had the lowest number of crashes with 16,416. 

Facts About Wrong Way Auto Accidents 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) did a study where they compiled all the data from wrong way driving crashes to identify trends in these deadly crashes. The following highlight their discoveries: 

  • Motorists over 70 years old account for a large portion of wrong way driving accidents. While this high number may seem unusual for this age group, their involvement may be attributed to poor vision and not seeing the wrong way signs posted on highways and roads. 
  • The majority of wrong way driving crashes involve a car that is entering an exit ramp on a highway. This can usually be attributed to signs not being clear, driver’s not being familiar with the area, or drivers being intoxicated. 
  • The NTSB found that 78% of the total number of wrong way crashes happen from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. Drunk drivers, low visibility, and drivers who are fatigued all contribute to more wrong way driving crashes at night and early morning.
  • Keeping in tune with the above facts, the NTSB also found that most wrong way collisions happen on weekends. This could be because more people are out drinking and partying on the weekends as opposed to weekdays. 
  • The NTSB also determined that 7 out of 9 wrong way collisions take place in the lane closest to the median. 
  • Lastly, the NTSB concluded that more than half of all wrong way driving accidents are the fault of an intoxicated driver. Their report further shows that most drivers causing wrong way crashes have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or above .15. When your BAC is .08 or higher, you are considered legally drunk. 

Wrong Way Driving Accident Claims

If you have survived a wrong way driving crash, then our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Our goal is to make sure you receive the medical attention you need for your injuries and recover the full and fair compensation to which you are owed for your pain and suffering. 

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traffic-3098816_1920-300x225A rollover crash in Tamarac, Florida has left two teen girls dead, according to reports from Florida traffic homicide detectives. 

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office released a report stating the accident happened at Tamarac intersection Thursday morning. 

Reports indicate that a 14-year-old boy was driving the car with three other teen passengers. As the car entered the intersection, a pickup truck smashed into the passenger side of the vehicle, resulting in the car flipping over. Two teen girls, 13 and 16, were killed. The 14-year-old driver and a 16-year-old passenger both suffered injuries that required hospitalization. 

The 68-year-old truck driver suffered no harm, according to reports. 

No further information has been made available at this time, but it has been reported that no charges have been filed yet. 

Rollover accidents have the very real potential to be fatal, as this case highlights. This is due to the fact that rollover crashes tend to be pretty violent collisions. Any car has the ability to rollover, but certain vehicle types are more prone to rolling over. Narrow, tall vehicles like SUVs, trucks, and vans have higher centers of gravity compared to smaller passenger vehicles, which makes them more likely to rollover in the event of an accident. 

Speed also plays a pivotal role in rollover crashes, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reported that nearly 40% of all rollover crashes involve cars travelling at excessive speeds. Another interesting fact, ¾ of fatal rollover crashes took place on roadways with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour or higher. 

The NHTSA also reports alcohol is a factor in half of all rollover collisions. It is important to highlight that driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is never a good idea as this can negatively impact your good sense of judgment, muscular coordination, and vision, which only increases your odds of losing control of your car. 

Driver behavior also plays a big role in preventing rollover crashes. Data from the NHTSA shows that more than 90% of vehicles involved in rollover collisions were engaged in routine driving behaviors, such as making a turn or travelling straight, when they crashed and flipped their vehicle. Data further shows that 85% of rollover deaths happen in single-vehicle collisions. These numbers suggest that distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inattentive drivers, and speeding all contribute to an increased likelihood of a vehicle rollover crash. 

If you are involved in a rollover crash, there are things you should do to protect yourself and any passengers. First and foremost, our South Florida Auto Accident Attorneys Whittel & Melton urge you to seek medical attention right away. Even if you feel fine, you need medical care to make sure that you do not have any physical injuries that may not be immediately apparent. You never want to delay medical treatment, as you may have a very serious injury that you have yet to discover and delaying care can only make the injury worse. You will also want to notify law enforcement right away to get to the scene. They will need to report their findings and keep the area safe. If possible, it is a good idea to take pictures and get the contact information for any witnesses. 

When it comes to rollover accidents, our South Florida Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help victims recover for their injuries. We are equally as dedicated to helping family members who have been killed in auto accidents recover for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit. Multiple parties can be responsible for a rollover accident, so it is very important for us to identify the at-fault parties early on in the investigation so that we can file the right claims. 

Rollover accidents can be complicated matters, but we are well equipped to handle these types of cases, as well as all auto accident claims. Victims of rollover accidents may be entitled to financial compensation for their suffering and we can help you evaluate your accident and determine what steps you can take to recover damages. 

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