As this is National Teen Driver Safety Week, all parents of teenage drivers, including Florida car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky, remind parents to speak with their children about the importance of safe driving. Considering car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths for teenage drivers, with nearly 3,000 annually, in addition to the over 125,000 teenagers who suffer personal injuries in car accidents each year, parents need to take time this week to stress the importance of safe driving with their teenagers.

Topics parents need to discuss should include the most common causes of teenage driver accidents and injuries, to wit: alcohol use, not using a seat belt, texting while driving/distracted driving, speeding and having too many passengers in the car. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration considers these situations as the “5 to Drive” rules for safety. The ‘5 to Drive’ rules provide a clear and simple list for parents and teenage drivers to discuss and learn from, in hopes of avoiding a crash.

As summarized by the NHTSA, the “5 to Drive” campaign “5 to Drive” campaign rules are:

As the parent of a teenage driver, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky knows too well about the frequency of teenage driver related car accidents; and the ongoing need to reduce the wrongful deaths and injuries which unfortunately happen too often in those crashes. According to a recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), older teenage drivers, those between the ages of 18 and 20, demonstrate a higher frequency of being involved in a crashes resulting in wrongful deaths, as compared to younger teenage drivers.

These deadly increases fly in the face of continuing efforts by the State of Florida to reduce teenage driving car accidents. Yet, the plain fact is that teenage drivers account for nearly 50% more car accidents than adult driver. Sadly, wrongful deaths from teenage driving car accidents rose nearly 10 percent last year. Considering that teenage drivers are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, ongoing driver education is a subject which affects everyone on Florida’s roads, not just those teenage drivers.

The report, which was underwritten by Ford, advocates that states more carefully monitor the unending number of teenage driver car accident wrongful deaths and direct greater resources at those older teenage drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), last year’s rise in teenage driver wrongful deaths actually reverses reductions seen over the past decade. Additionally, the majority of deadly teenage car accidents happen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings between 9 p.m. and midnight.

As a personal injury attorney helping seriously injured victims of crime in apartment complexes and business locations, so-called negligent security cases, Joseph Lipsky knows too well the affect a business owners’ ignorance of a rising crime rate can have the level of security they should have to protect their paying customers and tenants. Now, after a multi-year drop in violent crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting that violent crime rose nearly four percent over the last year.  The FBI is also reporting a nearly eleven percent rise in the murder rate.  This disconcerting rise in crime should be on the forefront of all business and apartment complex owners and operators’ minds.

In Florida, the law requires business and apartment owners and operators to take precautions to protect their business invitees, that is, their paying customers, from crime which is foreseeable. Basically this means, businesses must keep abreast of crime on and around their property; and, depending upon that level of crime over the past couple of years, take reasonable measures to deter and prevent future crime from occurring.  One of the most valuable tools for business owners is the FBI crime report, which is based upon actual police reports from every police department across the United States.  Also, in Miami and the surrounding communities of Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood, most local police departments have readily accessible on-line instant crime data.

While a responsible business owner will regularly monitor the crime reports, so as to change the level of protection they provide for their customers, too many businesses bury their head in the sand and purposefully ignore the crime report and their customers’ safety. By reviewing nearby crime, a business owner who is concerned about the customers may justifiably install additional lighting, add video surveillance cameras, locked gates, fencing and armed guards. Florida law does not require every business to enact all of the various types of crime prevention techniques, but only those which are reasonable for their property based upon the history of crime on and around their premises.  Also, the law does not require a small mom and pop type business to have the same level of crime prevention as a large apartment complex, such as a government subsidized section 8 type property, or a large gas station.  Larger businesses generally have more resources to provide a higher level of crime deterrence than small less profitable ones.

As a Florida personal injury attorney for over 25 years, Joseph Lipsky is concerned about the impending arrival of so-called self-driving or autonomous cars. Given the race by all automobile manufacturers to see who can get their cars on the road the fastest, as an attorney representing seriously injured victims of car accidents, Joseph Lipsky, like many of his fellow motorists, is concerned that the self-driving race will lead to dangerous situations for consumers. Now it finally appears the federal government understands this concern as they just released rules which are meant to guide car manufacturers about how they should rollout their technology on our roadways.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the new rules will go into place immediately.  The hope is that these rules will provide a unified understanding of what self-driving cars and trucks must have and be able to do in order to be considered safe. These rules begin with a 15 point Safety Assessment which manufactures must document in their vehicles. The 15 points include:

Operational Design Domain – How and where the vehicle is supposed to operate

Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky wants to make sure all seriously injured victims of all types of accidents, including car accidents and slip and falls accidents, understand the importance of telling their attorneys and treating doctors about any prior injuries and accidents they’ve had. With the technological advances in “cloud” based computing and analytics, personal injury victims need to understand the ease at which all insurance companies can access their past accident and injury information. Failure to disclose prior accidents and injuries often times may result in a judge dismissing a personal injury case for what they believe is “fraud upon the court.”

One of the first things insurance companies and their attorneys do when an accident victim files a claim for personal injuries is investigate that person’s past for any other accidents and/or injuries. Thereafter, when an injured accident victim fails to disclose any such prior injuries and accidents, especially in a deposition or in answers to interrogatories, the insurance company’s attorney will seek to present evidence to the presiding judge about those prior accident and injuries, for purposes of having the judge will dismiss the case.

Recently the Third District Court of Appeals, which presides over Miami-Dade and Monroe County, took such action when it dismissed a personal injury case against Home Depot. In that case, the injured plaintiff did not disclose a prior accident in which she received medical care.  The plaintiff also failed to disclose a prior hospital visit in which she complained of pain in her back, which was one of the injuries she was suing Home Depot for causing.  Once Home Depot presented evidence to the trial judge that the accident victim provided false and misleading deposition testimony, in not revealing the prior accident and medical care, the judge dismissed the personal injury case.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky is a proponent for advances in car and truck technology which are intended to prevent accidents and limit injuries. This is why he is concerned that too many motorists are unware and not properly educated about the intent and effectiveness of the automatic emergency braking systems which are increasingly showing up as either standard equipment or options on new cars and trucks. As demonstrated by a recent study from AAA, researchers learned that while many people who are looking to purchase a new car have a general understanding of newer car accident avoidance technologies, many potential buyers remain unaware of many of the devices which have recently been installed in cars for the purpose of preventing car accidents versus those vehicles which only have technology intended to lessen the damage done when a crash occurs.

The AAA believes automobile manufacturers and car dealers need to make a concerted effort to educate consumers as to the why and how concerning these devices, especially because their inclusion in most vehicles will be rapidly increasing thanks to federal requirements. In fact, the majority of vehicle manufacturers will install pre-accident sensing automatic braking technology in all vehicles by the turn of the decade. Pre-accident automatic braking, in combination with lane assistance and adaptive cruise control, will enable newer cars the ability to make life saving decisions much faster than an average driver is capable of making.

It is the hope and expectation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the accident avoidance technology will significantly lessen the alarming trend of rising car accident related wrongful deaths. As personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky previously reported, according to the National Safety Council, 2016 looks to be the most deadly for traffic accident deaths in over ten years. Sadly, more than 19,000 people needlessly died through the end of June. In fact, in an effort to expedite the reduction in these fatalities, the NHTSA obtained a promise from most vehicle manufacturers to include car accident avoidance automatic braking more than three years sooner than regulations require.

Over the past 25 years Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky has helped hundreds of seriously injured Some of the most senseless actions involving Florida car accidents actually happen after a driver hits another vehicle or a pedestrian. The senseless conduct is when the person who causes a crash, fails to stop and leaves the scene, thereby turning a routine accident, into a crime – a hit and run crash. Florida Statutes, sections 316, seq., generally define a hit and run crash is defined as one in which a driver fails to remain at the site of a vehicle crash which involves damage to another person’s property, including a vehicle, building or structure.

Not surprisingly, the high number of hit and run crashes throughout Florida remains steady at over 90,000 annually. While most hit and run accidents, nearly 80%, only result in vehicle damage, sadly nearly 200 people lost their lives in so-called hit and run collisions last year alone. Those who cause crashes, either by carelessness, by speeding or driving distracted, or by recklessness, in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, compound their conduct by turning what would considered a bad situation to something much worse, when they panic and flee the crash scene. While common sense would tell motorists that they should stop if they cause or are involved in a crash, Florida Law does require any driver who is involved in a crash to stop, regardless of whether the accident happens on a public or private road/property.

In fact, when a driver leaves the scene of an accident, they face criminal penalties, including a felony, which may result in the loss of their driver’s license, and depending upon if someone was injured, up to four years in jail. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, more than seventy percent of drivers who flee are men between the ages of 18 and 27. Often times, those relatively inexperienced motorists claim panic is the reason why they flee; however, those who are caught generally are found to be driving with an expired or suspended license, or are also violating Florida’s mandatory insurance requirements.

As a car accident lawyer located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Joseph Lipsky knows too well that the reputation our drivers have is not good; and now recent study demonstrates Floridians’ reputation of being poor drivers is well founded. To begin with, Florida drivers, more than those from any other state, use on-line search engines such as Google to inquire about police issued tickets, particularly those for speeding and traffic. This on-line activity is certainly due to the number of police issued traffic citations for bad and illegal driving.

And, having represented injured victims of Florida car accidents for nearly 25 years, Joseph Lipsky also knows that Florida has the 2nd most uninsured drivers in the United States. This fact is why he tries to educate all motorists about the importance of buying uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play when someone is injured in a car accident which is caused by a driver who has no or not enough insurance. In those situations, the injured person’s uninsured motorist insurance company essentially will pretend that they insure the person who caused the crash and injuries; thereby allowing the injured victim to have a source against which to seek payment of their damages.             

The study was based upon data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who reviewed the circumstances surrounding the more than 32,000 car accident related wrongful deaths last year. The analysts then reviewed the number of DUI arrests, on-line searches and car insurance rates. The compilation of this data allowed the study to conclude that Florida is one of the leading states for bad drivers. And within Florida, Miami is the nation’s worst city for driving. Miami has the most vehicle wrongful deaths, the most instances of pedestrians being hit by a car or truck and sadly the most yelling or gesturing at other motorists.

Miami car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky sadly reports that wrongful deaths from car accidents rose nearly eight percent over the past year. This drastic increase means 2015 was the deadliest year on Florida roadways in nearly a decade.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent report, over thirty five thousand people died in car and truck accidents last year.  The deadly increase took investigators by surprise as the number of accident deaths in 2014 dropped to a decades low.

While investigators are not able to point to a specific reason why traffic deaths rose last year, it is believed that low gas prices put more motorists driving more miles on roads across the country. Additionally, as is certainly known, the increase in driver distraction, particularly texting while driving is certainly a contributing cause.  The number of deadly crashes rose despite ongoing safety efforts by the NHTSA, such as attempts to accelerate technology which may avert sleepy driving. The agency also announced additional initiatives to change driver behavior as it pertains to fighting drunk, impaired and aggressive driving.

Although common sense dictates that all vehicle occupants should be able to reach their destinations safe and alive, especially with the prevalence and use of so-called autonomous vehicle systems, such as automated braking and stability control, inattentive driver behavior remains a compelling reason for deadly crashes. Although, the recent death of a motorist who was apparently watching a movie while using his vehicle’s auto pilot feature last week, reminds us that accident prevention technology has serious limitations in its effectiveness.

Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky is one of the people who believes that driving a sports utility vehicle (SUV) will help him avoid being seriously injured in a crash. Yet recent testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just proved that this common conception is not entirely accurate.

Most motorists are generally aware of the tests The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety do to determine the safety of cars involved in head-on and side impact crashes. Most people don’t realize that one of the most common types of car accidents involve so-called overlap crashes; that is, when the front corner of a vehicle crashes nearly head-on but actually closer to the drivers’ sides of passing vehicles, other types of overlap crashes happen when a vehicle strikes a pole or tree. These types of crashes account for nearly 25% of all serious car accident injuries. Given the increasing number of these overlap crashes and their resulting personal injuries and wrongful deaths, including nearly 1500 vehicle occupants who lost their lives in overlap crashes over the past two years.

Many of the small SUVs in the study sustained significant intrusion, over one foot, into the occupant compartment. Intrusion causes a vehicle’s instrument panel and parking brake to rapidly move toward the driver, impacting their knees and torso. Additionally, one of the vehicles even had a door during the test. If a vehicle door were to open during an actual crash, it is likely the occupant would be ejected, and killed. Death is sadly the most frequent outcome on an ejected occupant.