Over the past few years, especially with the increasing use of cellphones to text, email and talk by drivers of  moving cars, Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky has seen a drastic rise in the number of pedestrians who are struck by cars and seriously injured. This rise in pedestrian accidents throughout Florida, including Miami and Plantation, shows the immediate need for technological advances in vehicle systems which can save drivers from their own carelessness, and in turn save innocent pedestrians.

While nearly eighty percent of all vehicles sold in American over the past year have come equipped with some type of installed accident avoidance or notification systems, such as lane departure alarms and automatic braking on highway systems, that technology is really only designed to protect vehicle occupants from being injured in a car accident. Current systems are woefully inadequate at providing similar accident avoidance technology when it comes to pedestrians and bicycle riders.  Thankfully, manufacturers are finally taking steps to equip cars and trucks with pedestrian accident avoidance systems too.

Although not yet in use in the United States, in Europe, where government regulation is more strict, certain manufacturers are already placing systems which can detect and brake for pedestrians and bike riders who a vehicle senses within 20 yards of a vehicle. The systems claim to be able to enact emergency car accident avoidance in less time than a human can blink his eyes.

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky recently read a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which revealed that the most dangerous day to be on the road, that is the day that a deadly car accident is most likely to occur, is Saturday. Those of us who regularly drive I-95 or the Florida Turnpike on weekends know too well how careless many driver are, particularly later in the day.

The study which was commissioned due to the alarming increase in the number of deadly car accidents across America. The results were surprising because after a number of years of steady declines, car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths are again on the rise. The study analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 2016, which monitored the number of car accident deaths happened across Florida, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Key West, by day and time.

The study revealed that of the nearly 40,000 car accident deaths in 2016, almost 7000 happened on a Saturday. That means, Saturday saw a more than fifty percent greater number of roadway accident deaths that those which occurred on the safest day of the week, Tuesday.  The data also revealed that that Friday’s and Sunday’s were in a near draw as the second most deadly driving day.

Recently Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky read a new study from the Institute for Highway Safety which revealed that the number of pedestrians hit and killed in car accidents across America grew to thirty-year high. Having helped the families of too many Floridians who’ve lost loved ones in car accident, the study’s findings sadly come as no surprise.

The IIHS studied car accidents which resulted in wrongful deaths of pedestrians so try to ascertain the reasons behind the shocking annual increase. The study confirmed that nearly six thousand pedestrians were killed in car accident in 2016, which was the largest number of pedestrian traffic deaths in thirty years. Incredibly the nearly fifty percent increase in pedestrian traffic deaths is significantly greater than the number of all traffic wrongful deaths over the same period, when that number rose eleven percent.

A predominant factor in the majority of pedestrian traffic deaths is the time of day pedestrians are likely to be hit by a vehicle. The greatest number of car accidents resulting in a pedestrian’s death happened during the evening, when 4,500 pedestrians died during the time period from 2009 through 2016, this was an increase of more than fifty percent. The number of pedestrian deaths during daytime hours was more than two-thirds less, at 1,300.00. With many of the traffic deaths occurring in residential neighborhoods with fewer designated crosswalks, the Institute found that higher speed limits in many municipalities results to more fatalities when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian.

Here we go again, another “honor” for the State of Florida. According to a recent study, titled Dangerous By Design, seven of the top most deadly cities in America for pedestrians car accidents are in, you guessed it, Florida. As a Florida personal injury attorney for more than 25 years, Joseph Lipsky, knows too well, having helped dozens of pedestrians seriously injured in accident involving cars or truck, of the dangers pedestrians face when walking along or nearly Florida’s roadways.

The Dangerous by Design study came up with their so-called Pedestrian Danger Index, which is an analytical evaluation of the number of pedestrians who walk to work, and compared it to the number of car accidents in which pedestrians were seriously injured or killed. Nearly 5000 pedestrians were killed in car accidents or truck accidents over the past year, an alarming nationwide rate of 13 wrongful death victims every day. On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in a traffic crash. Fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians. To say that the ongoing rise in pedestrian deaths is an epidemic is clearly an understatement. Also of great concern is the fact that although minorities make up only about 1/3rd of the population, nearly 50% of all pedestrian deaths involve a minority. And as expected, the study confirms that those pedestrians 65 and older are fifty percent more likely to be killed by a car or truck.

While much of the blame for pedestrian wrongful deaths is squarely upon the shoulders of the drivers who hit them, the study found that engineers who are responsible for designing streets and sidewalks are also to blame, as they failed to take adequate preventative safety measures to protect pedestrians. Some of the features roadway designers routinely overlook include, wider medians, which allow pedestrians to safely avoid traffic, if they get stuck in the middle of a roadway; more marked crosswalks; and lowering roadway traffic speeds in areas know to have significant pedestrian traffic.

After steadily rising over the past two years, car accident deaths actually reduced over the last year, in a recent report by the National Safety Council, who computes that the number of car accident deaths will be about 1% less this year, still an appalling 40,100. Although, as a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, Joseph Lipsky, knows that Florida’s legislature is again refusing to take needed driver safety action which will stem the tide of the rapid rise in deaths caused by a texting driver.

Despite public outcry, Florida’s legislature has yet again failed to take needed action make texting while driving a primary moving violation. A recent evaluation of nearly three million car accidents by the Sun Sentinel demonstrated that car accidents involving a driver who was texting at the time of the crash is rising steadily. A distracted driver was found to cause many types of car accidents which resulted in personal injuries and death. The most frequent types of crashes associated with a distracted driver were: swerving out of a lane of travel, running a stop sign, ignoring other traffic signs and signals and veering into oncoming traffic.

As police officers will attest, too often they pull over a driver whom they believe to be guilty of drunk driver, only to find that the driver is actually lost in a conversation on their cell phone. Yet despite the known danger, Florida’s legislature continues to prevent police officers from being able to stop a driver because they are texting while driving, requiring them to have another valid reason to first stop the car. This inaction keeps Florida in the minority, with only six other states, of not allowing texting while driving to be a primary traffic violation.

As Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers, we are always on the watch for news which our clients and friends can use to help prevent deadly Florida car accidents. Along those lines, a recent report demonstrates that drowsy driving, where drivers are too tired to safely drive a car or truck, is more widespread than previous studies assumed.

A recent study by the AAA shows that sleepy motorist are to blame for nearly ten percent of all car accidents.  “Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk.” Plantation personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky could not agree more.

The AAA formulated their results after they studied nearly 4,000 drivers over a number of months. Through the use of dashboard cameras and other monitoring devices, the scientist followed motorists over a nearly three year period. The results of the study showed the driver being followed were involved in more than 700 car accidents. Drowsy driving was a contributing factor in almost ten percent of those car and truck accidents. And of those nearly 700 crashes, more than ten percent resulted in significant property damage or personal injury. Those results were much greater than the Department of Highway Safety Administration’s estimates that only 1-2 percent of car accidents involved a drowsy driver.

As Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows, there is an ongoing battle with making rear-seat passengers wear their seat belts, often time with deadly results. A recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that while 90% vehicle occupants wear their seat belt while seated in the front seat, back seat passengers too often fail to use seat belts, resulting in nearly eight times as many car accident personal injuries. Even more concerning is the failure of tax, Uber and Lyft riders to use seat belts.

Although most drivers and occupants know that highway car and truck accidents are a leading cause of wrongful deaths, with more than 35,000 annually, a rate of nearly 100 deaths every day, they don’t realize that the rate of car accident deaths, particularly those attributed to a lack of seat belt use actually rose almost 5% last year. The studies also show that the likelihood of an unbelted vehicle occupant dying in a fatal car accident was higher for those unrestrained riders in the back, not the front of cars.

In fact, occupants routinely admit to not wearing their seat belts in the back of vehicles. The Institute’s study found nearly 25% of those surveyed admitted to not wearing their seat belt in the back seat versus the front. Many drivers don’t realize that an unbelted occupant is also a hazard for others in a vehicle, as the unrestrained person may slam into the other occupants causing serious injuries. Researchers at the University of Virginia found that there is a more than 100% increase in the likelihood a driver will be killed by an unrestrained occupant will seated behind them.

As Florida car accident attorneys, we are always saddened to hear of a rise in car accident related injuries and deaths. This is why it is difficult to report that recent data demonstrates that the number of car and truck accidents resulting in wrongful deaths dramatically rose for over the past year, reaching a decade’s high; all in the face of added vehicle safety equipment and so-called self-driving vehicles.

The rise in deadly crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the increase to nearly 38,000 victims last year, is due to a number of reasons including speeding and the lack of seat belt use. The steady increase in accident deaths reverses what had been a steady drop from 2007 through 2014. While the researchers expected deadly car accidents to decrease given the increased use of so-called autonomous driving being installed in many vehicles, what they did not anticipate was that distracted driving, caused by drivers’ use of advances in vehicle technology are actually making it easier for drivers to be distracted.

Also, speeding and driver carelessness were responsible for a nearly 5% rise in deadly car accidents. Sadly, pedestrians being struck and killed by drivers rose nearly 10% over the past year. As expected, drunk driving accidents were to blame for nearly a 2 percent rise.

Nursing homes should be held accountable when they disregard their residents’ rights. Many years of lobbying by the nursing home industry convinced  the Florida Legislature to enact numerous laws which eroded residents’ rights, and made it more difficult for injured residents to hold those negligent accountable for their actions. The legislature failed to mandate nursing homes accept responsibility for their residents, by allowing them to play a shell game with each facility’s ownership and by allowing residents’ rights to be limited by arduous mandatory arbitration agreements. Hopefully the legislature will not allow the tragedy in Hollywood to go unaddressed. When nursing homes know they may be held accountable for their carelessness, they will take the actions needed not only to protect their bottom line, but more importantly, to keep their residents safe. Check our recent appearance on CBS4, where we discussed this issue.

 

As car accident attorneys helping seriously injured accident victims throughout Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Palm Beaches, we are not surprised that a recent survey determined that Florida has the worst drivers in America. The study reviewed crash and police information accumulated from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reviews the number of wrongful deaths per miles driven in each state; the number of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests per state, as reported to the FBI; the ratio of insured versus uninsured motorists in each state; and Google’s analytics regarding the number of searches about speeding tickets and traffic tickets in each stated.

As everyone who suffers through the daily drive upon Florida’s highways, including the Florida Turnpike, I-75, I-95 and SR 826 knows, the study could only have one “winner” once it analyzed all the data. Incredibly, while most drivers think they drive well, the data reveals that that is not the case. In Florida, that data shows that our reputation is well earned. Florida’s drivers “won” for the 2nd year in a row, a dubious honor as the nations’ worst. Florida’s honor is attributed to the number of deadly car accidents, ranking 9th in the nation and we also had the 9th greatest number of internet searches for traffic tickets. Surprisingly, Florida ranked at the bottom regarding the number of DUI arrest.

In addition to being the state with the worst drivers, Florida also has the most dangerous road, U.S. 1. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, U.S. 1 has a fatality rate of 2.8, with more than 1,011 car accidents with more than 1,000 wrongful deaths over the past ten years. Not too far behind I-95 running through Broward and Miami-Dade Counties with a fatality rate of 1.73 accidents per mile.

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