March 25, 2015

Distracted Driving Results in Teen Driver Car Accidents

As a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney and the father of teenagers, Joseph Lipsky is professionally and personally concerned about the number of car accidents associated with teenage distracted driving. While many people only associate distracted driving with cellphone and texting, many teenagers are also involved in car accidents due to distractions such as talking to passengers in their cars.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distractions played a role in almost sixty percent of teenager involved car accidents. The study reviewed almost 2000 videos of teenage drivers just before their being involved in a crash. Researchers were able to examine almost 7000 in vehicle cameras to obtain the study’s results. This real world access to accurate crash data found that police were actually under-evaluating the effects of distracted driving by more than forty percent.

In addition to showing hundreds of crashes, the in-vehicle videos also showed over a thousand incidents of extreme hard-braking events. The most frequent types of distracted driving included talking to passengers and cellphone use. Other types of distraction shown in the footage include motorists looking at something in their car, rather than at the roadway, dancing to music, brushing hair and reaching for something in the car.

The study proves that prior research, including by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which stated that distracted driving played a role in less than fifteen percent of teen car accidents, woefully underestimated the seriousness of this problem. Contrary to research involving older drivers, other studies demonstrate that teenage drivers with passengers are significantly more likely to have a car accident.

Partially because teenage drivers are involved in the greatest number of car accidents, almost one million last year, the AAA is pushing states for legislation which outlaws in-vehicle cellphone usage by teenage drivers. We agree that more serious legislation is need to curb the tide of teenage driver accidents and hope the Florida Legislature takes such action during this legislative session.

February 20, 2015

Car Accidents on the Rise in Miami Express Lanes

Having represented dozens of victims of car accidents in Miami who’ve been involved in a car accident within the express lanes of I-95, personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky knows too well the dangers drivers face while traveling within those express lanes. Now a local study demonstrates that Miami’s express lanes are especially dangerous given the lack of a sufficient emergency shoulder, which is forty percent narrower than the one which existed prior to the construction of the express lanes.

In fact, the widest portion of the express lane’s shoulder is actually narrower than an ordinary parking spot. This narrow safety zone results in disabled or stopped vehicles protruding into the inner most travel lane, resulting in an impediment for approaching drivers. The Florida Highway Patrol is also aware of the dangers the narrow shoulder presents for law enforcement officers who must make traffic stops within the express lanes. Those officers, whose lives are already in peril when they have to exit their vehicles along a standard highway, face an overly dangerous condition of speeding drivers and having no place safe to stand.

An additional danger presented by the express lanes is drivers who ignore the plastic dividers and cross into and out of the express lanes without regard for traffic in adjoining lanes. In the past year alone, the highway patrol has arrested over 150 drivers for recklessly crashing through the dividers. Sadly, at least four motorists have wrongfully died due to another driver crashing through the dividers and causing an accident.

The study revealed that most accidents occur during rush hour and that the deadly collisions generally occur after 10 at night. Having seen too often the life altering affects these deadly collisions have on families, we remind all motorist to stay in the lane they’ve chosen to travel in, and that the desire to move to a briefly faster moving lane presents a danger not only to yourself, but to everyone on the road.

February 15, 2015

Drunk Driving Car Accidents Drop But Druged Driving Rise

Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Joseph Lipsky is glad to report that the efforts to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents on Florida’s roadways, thanks in part to increased education and a ramp up in law enforcement’s efforts, has been showing positive results. Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends. Sadly, an ever increasing number of drivers are getting behind the wheels of their vehicles while under the influence of marijuana and prescription medications.

The rise in “stoned” drivers is particularly alarming as a recent government report, indicates that drivers under the influence of marijuana are more prone to be involved in car accidents, including those resulting in personal injuries. Making the results more troubling is the fact that dope is smoked more by young men, which is the category of drivers which already have the dubious distinction of causing the most car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in their report - Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, reveals that post-car accident analysis demonstrates that the amount of intoxicated drivers has dropped by almost one-third since 2007. In fact, the NHTSA found that approximately eight percent of drivers stopped in routine traffic stops were under the influence of alcohol, a decrease of more than thirty percent from their prior report in 2007. The bad news is that drivers who were found to have drugs in their system increased by thirty percent over the same time period, with marijuana use rising by almost fifty percent.

Incredibly, the same study’s results demonstrated that motorists under the influence of marijuana were found to be at a lower risk for being involved in a car accident compared to those under the influence of alcohol. The study's results, however, does not take into consideration the fact that tests which show marijuana use will be positive even if the person used marijuana days or weeks earlier. This is compared to blood alcohol tests which are much more sensitive to recent drinking.

Regardless, those who choose to use marijuana need to know that the evidence is clear, that using marijuana impairs driving skills. Ft. Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds his fellow Floridians, that it does not matter whether you are drinking or smoking, do not drive while under the influence of either.

January 5, 2015

Newer Cars Prevent Teenage Driver Wrongful Deaths

As a parent Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows that buying a child their first car, is not only an exciting, but also an expensive time. When parents consider how much money to spend on that first car, a recent study in the journal Injury Prevention revealed an eye opening statistic; more than 50% of the car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths involved cars that were more than ten years old and were also considered “small” vehicles.

With the rapid advances in vehicle technology, particularly when it comes to safety, the study noted that older small vehicles are not as safe as newer larger cars. Some of the safety advances which are prevalent in newer cars include side air-bags and stability control. Other safety advances include day-time running lights, lane departure warnings and blind spot detection systems. However, these advanced safety devices usually carry a large associated cost, which discourages parents from buying those cars.

Sadly, it will take well over a decade before those life-saving safety devices are available in the majority of used vehicles, thereby making it more affordable to buy for first time car owners. While it may hurt your wallet in the short term, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky hopes parents think of the long term returns a little more money spent on a newer car, even a less appealing one, will have on their children’s safety.

January 1, 2015

Being a Drunk Pedestrian Results in Deadly Florida Accidents

While most people know that New Year's Eve is exceptionally dangerous for those on the road, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky wants to make sure his fellow Floridians are aware that being a drunk pedestrian is actually 8xs more dangerous than being a drunk driver.

Sadly, a review of past years wrongful deaths demonstrates that a pedestrian is almost twice as likely to die while walking on New Year’s Day compared to an ordinary non-holiday day. Most of the drunk pedestrian accidents happen when someone attempts to cross an intersection against a stop light, or when they unknowingly jay-walk.

As South Floridians venture out on foot during this holiday season, thinking it is safer than driving, it is important to remember that while wearing basic black looks cool, brighter colored clothes may actually help prevent you from being the victim of a crash. Other common sense suggestions including, walking in a group rather than alone. Of course, taking a cab or using the services of a private riding sharing company can help keep you out of harm’s way.

Regardless of how you intend on celebrating the holiday season, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds you it’s okay to have fun, so long as you think about how you’re getting to and from your parties before you actually begin to party.

December 24, 2014

Distracted Driving Accidents Rise with Increase in Private Taxi Use

One of the most important messages Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Joseph Lipsky tells all drivers to avoid distracted driving, particularly not texting or checking email while driving. Surprisingly the rapid growth of cell phones to text and email is causing an additional unexpected rise in distracted driving in a group of drivers, those who work for private taxi services, like Uber. Those drivers actually lose money if they don’t use their phones to text while driving.

Anyone who’s used one of the recently popular private taxi companies knows that their drivers must quickly agree to accept a prospective rider’s request. Within their brief response time, the driver must determine where the pick-up is, which may only be done by looking at their phone. Drivers are penalized if they don’t respond to possible fares promptly. But private drivers are not alone, as many typical taxi companies have started using computers that match taxis and fares in a similar manner.

This technology driven rise in distracted driving has drawn the attention of the National Safety Council, whose chief executive bluntly stated that there is no debate that this is distracted driving. Incredibly, one of the companies responsible for the taxi based technology agrees that the required driver response may be considered as distracted driving.

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, Miami personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky certainly encourages everyone to use a designated driver, rather than drunk driving, and while these private taxi type services are certainly convenient, for everyone’s safety we encourage our fellow Floridians to be a little more patient and allow a driver that is called or summoned a little more time to respond to a call for a pick up.

December 2, 2014

Scooters Are A Leading Cause of Child Injuries

As the holidays are quickly approaching and many parents are looking for fun gifts for their children, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney Joseph Lipsky reminds his fellow gift givers of the dangers associated with some of the most popular toys. According to the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, one toy in particular, a kick scooter, is directly responsible for an astounding forty percent rise in child related personal injuries over the past ten years.

While injuries from other gifts, including pretend guns, are also on the rise, injuries caused by falls from these scooters are the most often cited cause of injury. In fact, the number of emergency room visits due to such child toy injuries is almost 200,000 annually. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s annual report demonstrated that there were over fifty two thousand personal injuries, and sadly one wrongful death, due to scooter related accidents last year.

Due to the steady rise in toy related accidents, especially fractured wrists, there is a renewed push to remind parents and children that wearing a helmet and using wrist guards while riding on a scooter or skateboard should be a requirement. Considering there were more than a quarter million bicycle accident related injuries, helmet use while riding should also be mandatory for children. Also, parents should resist the urge to buy age inappropriate gifts for their children. While we want to see our kids have fun, it is important to make sure that they are both physically and mentally ready for the types of dangerous situations which may arise while using kick scooters.

Personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky wishes his fellow Floridians and their children a safe holiday season and urges everyone to make sure helmet use is mandatory.

November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Holiday is a Dangerous Time on Florida's Roads

Fort Lauderdale personal injury Joseph Lipsky wants to remind his fellow Floridians that while the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday is a time to remember and give thanks, it is also one of the most dangerous weekends for deadly car accidents.

In fact, over the past six years, car accidents during the Thanksgiving Holiday are responsible for more than five hundred wrongful deaths each year. And according to the National Safety Council, more than forty thousand others will be injured in car accidents this coming weekend. Given the recent drop in gas prices, the NSC expects an additional rise in such car accidents this year. Sadly, during times of increased vehicle travel, especially over the long Thanksgiving Weekend, the number of car accidents and resulting injuries rises greatly.

Not surprisingly, a significant reason for the increase is due to increased alcohol drinking. Because almost all Floridians will travel by car to reach their holiday destinations over Thanksgiving, those additional vehicles on the road result in an approximate increase in vehicle traffic of more than 25%. Alcohol use during the holiday season is always greater than during non-holiday weekends. Those most likely to drink and drive over the holiday weekend are, you guessed it, drivers between the ages of 21 - 24.

As we want everyone to enjoy a safe and healthy start to this year's holiday season, we at the personal injury law offices of Joseph Lipsky, hope everyone takes a little more time to get to their destinations, leaves the driving to a designated driver and do not text and drive.

October 31, 2014

Keeping Kids Safe and Preventing Car Accidents on Halloween

Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky reminds everyone that while today is Halloween, a time when our children are excited to show off their newest creative costumes, that safety should be on everyone’s mind tonight. According to the AAA, this evening between 6 and 7 p.m. is the most likely time for car accidents involving pedestrians. As the sun begins to set, drivers need to be particularly attentive to their surroundings. And, parents need to remind their children to look both ways before crossing the street.

Remember, even a slight increase in a car’s speed can have deadly results. In fact, a car going thirty miles per hour is twice as likely to cause a deadly accident as a vehicle traveling 5 M.P.H. slower. And under any circumstances, a brief moment of taking your eyes off the road, acting like a distracted driver to read a text or look at a home’s decorations, can result in a deadly car accident. Considering many costumes are dark colored, drivers need to be particularly attentive in watching out for young trick or treaters.

As for our children, parents should give all kids some sort of light, even a glow stick, to carry as a way of making themselves seen to approaching traffic. Some basic common sense safety precautions and extra attention by drivers can make sure Halloween remains a fun and safe day.

October 20, 2014

National Teen Driver Week, a Time to Prevent Car Accidents

As we commence National Teen Driver Safety week, Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds parents of the importance their behind the wheel behavior in molding safe teen drivers. The need for National Teen Driver Safety Week is based upon the NHTSA’s study which found that more teenagers died in car accidents than by any other cause. Despite this epidemic, studies demonstrate that less than 25% of parents have actually had a serious talk with their teen driver about the dangers associated with driving a car, particularly about distracted driving.

Many unnecessary personal injuries may be avoided if parents begin by driving as a proper role model, rather than setting a bad example of a distracted driver. While parents often talk about the hazards of texting while driving, they are often the most blatant offenders. In fact, a major insurance company reports that almost ninety percent of teenage drivers witnessed their parents talking or texting while driving.

Another example of poor parental teaching behavior is calling a teenage driver while they are behind the wheel. Considering most parents expect their teenage to answer the phone, those who are driving are faced with a difficult decision of driving in a less than safe manner, or risk being punished by their parent for not answering their phone.

We cannot stress the importance of the 5 to drive rules, which include: no using a cell phone while driving, no taking extra passengers in the car, no speeding, not alcohol and no driving or having passengers who do not use their seatbelt.

The Florida Legislature passed laws which punish drivers who are seen texting, but the associated penalties are not enough to stem the tide against dangerous distracted teenage driving. Parents need to make sure that their teenage drivers know and understand the deadly results which can come from a quick look at a text. As personal injury attorneys who have helped thousands of Florida families overcome the devastating results of deadly car accidents, we hope all families take this week to spend some additional time talking to our teenage drivers about the responsibilities which come with having a driver’s license.

October 10, 2014

Taking Over the Counter Medicine Can Cause Car Accidents

As a personal injury attorney helping seriously injured accident victims across Florida, including Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Joseph Lipsky wants his fellow drivers to know about a recent caution issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the dangers, and increase in car accidents, associated with driving after taking many common non-prescription medications.

Although common sense would also indicate it, many regularly taken medications, including those used to treat conditions such as sneezing or motion sickness, can cause a driver to become dangerously drossy so that their ability to prevent a car accident is greatly diminished. In fact, according to the FDA, many medications can adversely affect drivers even a day after they are taken.

In order to prevent becoming impaired to the extent which may cause a car accident, we strongly suggest that drivers thoroughly read the warning labels of any medication they may take. Particular attention must also be paid to warnings about how a particular medication may interact with other medicines. Following instructions is critically important as even a slight reduction in a driver’s reaction time can result in a car accident. As a driver’s brain needs almost a full second to think about a situation before acting, such as by pushing the brake, any additional delay will cause a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour to move an additional 45 feet before the medicated driver can begin to slow or stop his car, just like any other type of impairment, including drunk driving. This distance is more than enough time in which a crash may occur.

We concur with the FDA’s recommendations and remind our fellow Floridians that taking any medication, including over the counter ones, can have deadly consequences.

October 7, 2014

Hands Free Devicies Do Not Prevent Car Accidents

Having represented thousands of seriously injured victims of car accidents in Miami and Fort Lauderdale over the past 20 years, personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky is always concerned when he notices that devices which are characterized as making driving safer, actually cause more harm. This is precisely what is occurring with so-called voice activated car devices.

While these hands free activities are purportedly designed to allow drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel, thereby helping prevented distracted driving accidents, a new study confirmed that these “upgrades” also cause driver distraction, leading to deadly car accidents.

The recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirmed that driver’s brains are adversely affected, and greatly distracted, by using vehicle installed and cellphone voice activated systems. Most drivers are now familiar with various in vehicle applications which allow drivers to do things such as making calls or changing radio stations with voice commands rather than having to physically touch a button. Most drivers also know that due to the increasing sophistication of new vehicles and phones, often times the driver actually becomes more distracted trying to use a buggy device. The study confirmed that driver’s reaction times slow down when those drivers are thinking about something other than safe operation of their vehicle.

Sadly, anyone whose used a cellphone knows too well that the virtual assistant usually gets the voice command wrong, leading to continuing corrective actions, which lead to a distracted driver. Considering the thousands of wrongful deaths and life altering injuries caused by car accidents, auto manufactures and cellphone companies need to take care in making sure their new technologies do not continue to cause distracted driving crashes.