Articles Posted in Road Safety

A deadly Sunday crash that killed a cyclist and injured six others in South Florida is sadly the latest reminder about the dangers of distracted driving.

Investigators are still working to piece together what happened, and state lawmakers are continuing their push to strengthen Florida’s traffic laws in the hopes of making people safer on the road.

And it’s not just lawmakers calling for change. Families who have lost loved ones are joining in the effort, saying the laws don’t do enough to crack down on texting while driving.

Legislation has been trying to enhance existing laws since 2015, but concerns about racial profiling and potential privacy issues have put the brakes on any substantial change.

Under the latest proposal, drivers could still use cell phones for navigation. To talk on their phones, however, they would be required to use a hands-free device.

Last year, state Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville, now the Senate Minority Leader, suggested that moving to hands-free devices would erase concerns about racial profiling.

Keeping with current law, the legislation allows for cell phone records to be accessed in cases dealing with deal or physical injury. That could curb some of the privacy concerns voiced in years past.

Though this year’s version of the bill has not been assigned to any committees yet, lawmakers will return to Tallahassee in December for the first rounds of committee hearings.

On highways, interstates and roadways throughout Florida, drivers who allow distractions to interfere with their driving cause serious accidents that can lead to fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you don’t need to go through this difficult time on your own. Our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help.

We will investigate your case and determine if the other driver involved in your accident was using their cellphone or otherwise driving while distracted. We can use this evidence to establish liability, so that you can seek financial compensation for your losses.

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A Florida sheriff’s deputy who was involved in a recent crash that killed a pickup truck driver has been involved in yet another collision.

The 29-year-old Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy was cited for improper lane change on Tuesday.

Th deputy swerved into another car while trying to avoid traffic near Orlando, causing a three-vehicle crash. No one was injured in the crash.

On Oct. 5, the deputy didn’t stop at a red light and crashed into a pickup truck that then hit two other vehicles. The crash killed a 34-year-old man.

The deputy was placed on administrative during an investigation into that crash.

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even police officers. However, It is the duty of any operator of a motor vehicle to be alert and aware of all the motorists on the roadway. A safe lane change is one that is executed carefully, using turn signals, and checking side-view and the rear-view windows, always remaining aware of blind spots. If a driver fails to perform a lane change safely or engages in reckless driving and causes a collision, all injured parties are entitled to make a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle crash or lost a loved one because of a negligent automobile driver, contact our Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton soon as possible following the accident to protect your right to a recovery. Florida has a relatively short statute of limitations, which is the time you are legally allotted to file a lawsuit to recover compensation, so it is important to act fast.

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Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a crash that killed a motorcycle rider on Florida’s Turnpike Sunday afternoon.

Troopers were notified of the crash around 4pm that happened on the turnpike southbound exit ramp to Sunrise Boulevard.

Arriving troopers found a 2007 Harley Davidson in a retention pond on the southwest shoulder of the ramp.

The 64-year-old motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other information regarding the crash is available.

Motorcycle accidents usually result in very serious personal injuries or wrongful death. After a motorcycle accident, it is extremely important to be aware of your rights to recover for injuries or wrongful death including, but not limited to, past and future medical bills, loss of wages, hospital expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, funeral costs and other damages.

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A box truck’s tire came loose Tuesday evening and struck an SUV along Interstate 95 in Oakland Park, killing the SUV driver and injuring a passenger.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the box truck was heading south along the highway when it lost its left front tire near Commercial Boulevard, just before 6:15 p.m.

Officials believe the tire bounced over the concrete barrier wall and onto the northbound lanes, smashing into the roof of a 2013 Ford Echo.

The 25-year-old driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics transported the female passenger to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale with injuries that were not classified as life-threatening.

Troopers are still investigating the cause of the accident. It remains unknown if any charges will be filed.

When a blowout occurs on the tire of a big rig, semi, 18-wheeler or other large, heavy truck, the aftermath is very different than that of a tire blowout in a smaller passenger vehicle. The resulting accident and injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal, as the above accident shows.

When accidents are caused by tires, our Florida Truck Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton work diligently to determine who the liable parties are and hold them responsible for compensating accident victims or families of those killed in these tragic accidents. We collaborate with scientific experts and accident reconstruction specialists to figure out if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect, by trucking company or employee negligence, or by other conditions.

A tire can be defective for a variety of different reasons, including failure to stand up to heat generated during driving or poor traction due to poor design or a problem in the manufacturing process. The most common tire defect that causes most 18-wheeler accident is poor treadwear and tread separation.

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Memorial Day is approaching and that means a long weekend and the start of summer! Whether it is at the pool, on a boat, or at a barbecue, plans are usually made to enjoy this time and relax with good friends and family.

We should not forget that this is a time to pay tribute to the brave men and women in the military who died in the line of service to the United States and defending our freedoms.

Spending the time with loved ones may mean a celebration at home or travelling to other places. Regardless of your plans, safety and common sense should be utilized to keep everyone free from harm. No one wants to have to spend their long weekend in the emergency room!

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have compiled a few safety tips to get you through the Memorial Day Weekend safely:

  • Grill Safely: Make sure your grill is cleaned of grease, dust, and checked before use. Do not grill in an enclosed space that could catch fire.
  • Swimming or Boating: Refrain from consuming alcohol when swimming or boating. Do not swim alone. Wear lifejackets on boats. AND ALWAYS supervise young children at all times to avoid drowning and near drowning tragedies.  
  • Travel Safely: In 2017 the National Safety Council estimated that holiday traffic injuries and deaths have climbed upward in the last two years. Because of this, we urge you to never drink and drive, wear your seatbelt every time you get inside a car, make sure children are in the proper safety seats for age and weight, refrain from distractions while behind the wheel, and make sure you are well rested before making a long trip.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death, call us immediately at 866-608-5529 or contact us online. We offer free initial consultations and are available 24/7, so you can ask all of your questions and get the help you need.  

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Rain tends to send many drivers into a panic as driving conditions become more hazardous.

While it might seem like a good idea to turn on your emergency lights while driving in heavy rain, our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you not to do it.

Please note: using your hazards in rainy conditions is illegal, and also dangerous. You could actually cause a crash that you think you are avoiding.

We want to remind you of this fact because not every state follows the same law as Florida does. Some states allow it in emergency situations, and some states have no restrictions. You can view the rules state-by-state, via AAA.

What do we mean when we are talking about the wet season? The wet season in Florida starts in late May and continues through October.

Here are some rainy weather driving tips we have compiled to help you through:

  • Check your tires.
  • Stay away from cruise control: while this is good in dry conditions, when it is raining, it only increases your chances for losing control of your vehicle.
  • Use your headlights, but not your high-beams: this keeps you from blinding other drivers, and the extra light could reflect off the rain and reduce your visibility.
  • Drive slow and leave plenty of room for other drivers: driving slower in wet conditions can be critical to reduce your chances of hydroplaning. If you think you are in no longer contact with the road, start to pump your brakes until you come to a complete stop – do not slam them!

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The holiday season is a time for joyful celebrations and enjoying time with friends and family. It is also a high-risk time to be on the roadways. Christmas, New Year’s, and the days surrounding these holidays are days when there is a substantially higher number of auto accidents and crash fatalities than other times of the year. If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a holiday car accident, our Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help you through.

Christmas and New Year’s are all at the top of the list of high-risk days for drivers. These holidays see some of the year’s highest accident rates, along with Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day. The increase in fatalities and serious injury accidents on these holidays is substantial, with motorists facing a dramatically increased chance of being involved in a crash.

The Christmas holiday period includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. During this holiday time, an average of 343 people die in motor vehicle accidents. New Years is also defined as a three-day holiday period including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Over New Year’s, an average of 373 people die in car accidents. Why? More drivers on the roads and more drunk drivers are two primary reasons for the rise in car accident deaths on both Christmas and New Year’s.

Drivers need to be aware of the added dangers of driving on these holidays and should take precautions to try to protect themselves from becoming accident victims. There are a few things you can do to make sure you are set up well for travelling this holiday season.

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition before traveling.
  2. Get plenty of rest to avoid drowsy driving.
  3. Check road conditions to be prepared for adverse weather and avoid driving during storms.
  4. Try to limit travel time to daytime rather than driving at night when the accident risks are greater.
  5. Stay sober and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  6. Don’t succumb to distractions when driving!

If you or someone you love is the victim of a crash on any day or holiday, our Florida Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can provide assistance with pursuing a case for financial compensation for crash injuries or wrongful death.

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A new study of pedestrian and bicycle travel suggests investment in infrastructure and policies to encourage walking and biking is correlated with lower rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

The work by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also identifies the safest and most dangerous metropolitan regions for pedestrians and bicyclists in the U.S.

Using improved travel data, the study calculated the rates of fatalities for walkers and bicyclists in 46 American regions with populations greater than one million.

The safest regions identified by the meta-analysis were:

Walking

  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Bicycling

  • Portland

The most dangerous regions were:

Walking

  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa

Bicycling

  • Jacksonville
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach

The study uses data from the National Household Travel Survey, which includes work, recreational, shopping, school and social trips, so it goes beyond the “journey-to-work” data collected by the U.S. Census.

Analysis of all 46 regions also provided support for the “safety in numbers” hypothesis: More pedestrian and bicyclist traffic overall is related to lower crash risk for each person walking and bicycling.

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The 4th of July is officially upon us! Most people are focused on planning barbecues, fireworks, pool parties and drinking right about now. While there is nothing wrong with a good party, Independence Day festivities can sometimes lead to severe injuries. What you may not even know is that the 4th of July is one of the deadliest holidays. However, most of the injuries suffered on this holiday are entirely preventable.  

Being aware of the most common injuries can help you avoid them. When you know what to look out for, you can take extra safety precautions and be prepared. The following is a breakdown of the injuries seen on the 4th of July holiday:  

Car Accidents

The National Safety Council estimated that 466 people were killed and 53,600 more suffered serious injuries in auto accidents during the three-day 4th of July holiday period last year. Sadly, this was an all-time record.

Drunk driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents. If you plan to drink this 4th of July, please make alternative plans for getting home safe. There are too many outlets nowadays (Uber, Lyft, taxis, DDs, etc.) for you to not be able to avoid driving drunk. If you cannot find a ride, then stay put! Don’t jeopardize your life or anyone else’s because you had too much to drink.  

Fireworks Injuries

Fireworks are fun, but also quite dangerous! If you want our advice: leave the fireworks to the professionals!

If you’re planning a holiday fireworks show, you  should be aware that not all fireworks are legal in Florida. Even if you see it at a store or roadside stand, this does not mean that it is legal to buy or use it.

The only fireworks legal for use by consumers who don’t possess a special permit are sparklers. If you’re unsure of what fireworks are legal, the Florida Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year, and you can view the list here.

Please keep in mind that in Florida, possession or use of illegal fireworks is classified as a misdemeanor. Violating this law can result in fines up to $1,000 and up to one year behind bars.

Heat Stroke

It is hot! If you stay outside too long in the hot sun, you could be at risk for dehydration and heat stroke. If you feel weak, faint, confused, dizzy, or have a headache, this is a sign to get to a shaded area and drink some water.  

Swimming Injuries

Swimming and alcohol do not mix. When people become drunk and are near large bodies of water or a swimming pool, they can make poor judgement calls that can result in serious injuries, or even death.

Make sure all children are supervised by an adult when swimming. Drowning accidents and other tragedies can occur in the blink of an eye.

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A truck driver that was arrested in a crash on Interstate 80 that killed a Minnesota couple and their three children has his first court appearance Tuesday.

The Keith County Court’s office said the 53-year-old Baker, Florida man, is facing five counts of felony motor vehicle homicide and one count of reckless driving.

He is being held on $100,000 bond.

A Nebraska State Patrol affidavit says the man was inattentive and speeding through a construction zone Sunday when his semitrailer smashed into the back of a minivan and other vehicles. The minivan was carrying a 29-year-old St. Paul couple, and their three children.

Collisions with large trucks usually end in fatalities. Sadly, passenger vehicles are no match for the size and weight of semis and tractor trailers. While nothing can bring back loved ones killed in truck accidents, the law does provide a legal remedy for surviving family members to ease any financial burdens through what is called a wrongful death lawsuit. If a truck driver’s reckless or negligent actions resulted in a crash that killed another person, they can be held legally liable for any harm caused.

Wrongful death claims can be complex when dealing with a trucking company. There are many aspects that must be properly investigated, including the driver logs, the truck itself and all other relevant documents that could point to regulation violations.

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