June 25, 2008

New Florida Law Hopes to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

All we can say is, "it is about time," as Florida will finally require anyone who wants to get a motorcycle license to undergo a basic riding course. Given the number of motorcycle accidents, particularly in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, too many of which result in serious spinal cord injuries, we certainly believe that this new law will have a beneficial effect.

Unlike the present law, which only requires a knowledge and skills test, the new law, going into effect on July 1, requires everyone who wants to get a new motorcycle license endorsement to take a basic rider course before they can even apply for such a license. Once they past the test, the state will then notify those who applied when they are permitted to go to their local driver's license office to get their license.

In our practice we too often see the debilitating injuries and loss of life caused by untrained and inexperienced motorcycle operators. We certainly hope this will be the first of many steps the Florida Legislature takes to protect all Floridians.

June 24, 2008

Police Enforce "Move Over" Law to Prevent Roadside Car Accidents

In their annual effort to remind Florida motorists of their need to comply with the "move over" law, the Florida Highway Patrol is beginning a strict enforcement policy this week. The increased police effort is to hopefully prevent needless roadside car accidents, which, on too many occasions, lead to the wrongful death of an emergency worker.

Florida's six year old law provides that when a police officer, ambulance or fire rescue vehicle is stopped on the side of the road with its emergency lights on, that oncoming drivers move over a lane or decrease their speed to 20 m.p.h. below the speed limit. In those instances where the speed limit is 20 m.p.h. or less, motorists must drive a maximum of five m.p.h. when approaching an emergency vehicle

Thankfully, according to The Highway Patrol, only officer has died in such an accident since the law went into effect. However, more than 1,800 other emergency workers have been injured, including more than 270 police officers last year alone.

Drivers should also remember that the law requires similar preventative efforts to protect road rangers and tow trucks.

June 11, 2008

Staring at Crashed Fort Lauderdale Police Car Causes Four Car Accidents

Consider this one as a wake up call for all Florida drivers to avoid being distracted by car accidents they drive past. Today, four separate car accidents occurred along I-95 in Boynton Beach, due to drivers taking their eyes of the road.

The car accidents happened when, as described by the Florida Highway Patrol "people started slowing down to see [a] wrecked [Fort Lauderdale Police Department] patrol car on the road and they were hitting each other." All of the other accidents happened within twenty minutes.

Thankfully according to the Florida Highway Patrol, there were no serious injuries, although one person was taken JFK Medical Center.

While human nature compels us to look at such collisions on the side of the road, we certainly hope everyone will remember that driving a car requires your full-time attention to your surroundings, in particular, the cars traveling in front and behind you.

June 9, 2008

Car Accident Claims Life of University of Miami Law Professor

The University of Miami School of Law lost a pillar of it's community, when a Sunday morning car accident outside of downtown Miami claimed the life of Professor Alan Swan. Professor Swan died from injuries suffered in the collision which occurred Sunday morning on northbound S. Dixie Highway. Swan's wife also suffered seriously injuries in the collision.

According to police, the car accident happened as the Swans were driving up US 1 to I-95 when another vehicle, speeding along US 1, struck Swan's vehicle, sending it out of control. Police charged the other driver with leaving the scene of a deadly accident.

As attorneys working in Miami, we send out condolences to Professor Swan's families and urge his former students to recall the memorable experiences and lessons he passed along to them.

June 6, 2008

Wrong Way Car Accident In Boca Raton Leaves One Dead

A car driving against traffic on Interstate 95 caused a car accident which left one person dead and injured two others in Boca Raton Friday evening. The car, identified as a Jaguar, was going the wrong way on I-95, just north of Yamato Road, when it caused an SUV to overturn.
The passenger who died was thrown from the SUV. Two other occupants of the SUV were transported via air rescue to Delray Medical Center.

Even though the Jaguar caused the tragic accident, it did not stop, until it continued down the road and crashed into another car a half a mile away. Although the driver of the Jaguar was not identified, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, the vehicle is owned by a resident of Lake Worth, a suburb of Palm Beach.

Unfortunately, these collisions are a continuation of an unfortunate trend of wrong way car accidents on I-95. According to the Highway Patrol, at least 21 people from Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas have died in such car accidents over the last 15 years. We certainly hope the appropriate agencies take the necessary steps to turn the tide against such tragedies.

June 5, 2008

Hallandale Hopes Red Light Cameras Will Prevent Car Accidents

The city of Hallandale, which is just south of Fort Lauderale in Broward County, is hoping that installing red-light cameras at busy and dangerous intersections will, in the words of Police chief Tom Magill, "reduce the risk of injuries to our citizens," by reducing, if not preventing, car accidents.

The City Commission gave initial approval to install such cameras at various intersections, including the intersection of Hallandale Beach Boulevard with Dixie Highway, Sixth and Eighth Avenues. Violators of the ordinance will face a fine, but would not be subjected to points on their drivers licenses.

Given the number of drivers who try to "time" or beat yellow lights, putting everyone else on the road at risk, we applaud the City's effort to reduce dangerous inter-sectional car accidents. It seems this is a growing trend among cities, which we certainly hope continues.

June 1, 2008

Boca Raton Car Accident Leaves Children Critically Injured

In what should be a lesson to all parents, a father and two children, none of whom were wearing seat belts or child safety seats, suffered critical injuries in a Sunday morning car accident on I-95 in Boca Raton. Fire Rescue took the injured to Delray Medical Center.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the single car accident happened on the southbound lanes of I-95 near Congress Avenue. Witnesses told the highway patrol that the vehicle was speeding when it lost control, ran off the interstate and rolled over.

Thankfully another child in the vehicle was uninjured, due to the use of restraint, as reported by the Highway Patrol.

We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of the use of seat belts and child safety seats. While many adults choose to risk their own lives by failing to use an available seat-belt; the decision of whether to place a child in such a restraint is not be a choice, but rather, a requirement. We hope all parents and care givers take the time and show the care to protect their children.