March 21, 2011

Changes in Car Seat Guidelines Hope to Lessen Injuries

In hopes of averting some of the devastating injuries children suffer in car accidents, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) updated their recommendations for car seat use. Now all infants are recommended to remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach the age of two. Research indicates that rear-facing seats provide infants with needed support for their head and neck, which are susceptible to injuries in most car accidents.

In addition to the change regarding infants' car seat use, the NHSA also updated their guidelines for elementary school children. Previously, parents were told to keep children in booster seats until they were 8. The updated recommendations, which are based upon size rather than age, indicate that booster seats should be used until a child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

As personal injury attorneys practicing in Florida, we find it sad that although 47 states mandate that older children use booster seats, Florida has no such requirement. The lack of such a requirement places too many of our kids in danger. We certainly hope the legislature addresses this oversight.

March 18, 2011

Miami Dade County: Prevent Car Accidents, Stop Texting

In hopes of stopping a rising problem of deadly car accidents caused by texting, Miami Dade County is joining the national efforts of bringing attention to the dangers of texting while driving. While the campaign is focused on drivers in South Florida, the message resonates nationwide.

Unfortunately, the campaign's premise, which describes what happens after someone dies in a car accident caused by texting, is all to real. Everyday we speak with the suffering families of loved ones lost due to such reckless behavior while driving. The county's message ties into those from the USDOT, which include the “Faces of Distracted Driving” series. According to Secretary LaHood, "distracted driving is a deadly epidemic."

Given the similarities of impaired drivers and those distracted by texting, as personal injury attorneys practicing in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, we strongly urge all drivers to "get the message" and put down their phones when they are behind the wheel.