Articles Posted in Auto Injury

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.

While many drivers take precautions to drive safely in hopes of preventing being seriously injured in a car accident, many vehicle owners overlook a critical safety feature of their vehicles which puts them in a great risk of being involved in the accident they are hoping to avoid. That safety feature is the vehicle’s headlights. Improperly maintained or installed headlights create a danger not only for a driver, but for preventing pedestrian accidents – as they may not been in enough time to avoid being stuck.

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety demonstrated that the majority of headlights on a number of small SUV, including the Jeep Wrangler, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan Rogue had poorly performing headlights. Even so-called luxury vehicles such as the Mercedes C-class had poorly rated headlight systems.

Incredibly, it is actually old federal regulations which are the cause of numerous vehicles with poorly rated headlights. While many manufactures actually want to install items including adaptive beams, regulations prevent them from installing the same technology they have on vehicles being sold around the world. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has failed to take action on a number of manufactures requests to install newer headlight systems, such as curving headlights which actually turn themselves into a turn a vehicle is making. In fact, Toyota’s request which they made over four years ago, are still pending.

While it may seem like common sense, many prospective car buyers do not realize the dangers associated with driving a small vehicle as compared to the safety of driving a larger vehicle. Research shows that drivers of small vehicles are more likely to be in a deadly car accident than those driving large vehicles. These drastic safety differences between the safest and most dangerous vehicles becomes more concerning when there are so many drivers on the road, such as this past Memorial Day weekend, when nearly 40 million were on the roadways who unfortunately have hundreds of car accidents.

Proof of the dangers and higher mortality rates associated with driving a small vehicle are evident in a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the head of research, “physics matter. The bigger the vehicle, the safer you are in an accident.” Additionally, many larger vehicles tend to be more expensive than entry level ones, meaning they generally come equipped with more safety equipment which also helps their drivers survive even highway car accidents. Some of the more prominent safety and accident prevention technology in more expensive vehicles include automatic braking, additional airbags and pre-tensioning seat-belts.

The IIHS went through 4 years of car accidents which resulted in nearly 3,000 wrongful deaths, which was a significant increase compared to the prior four year period, and analyzed that data over 200 models of vehicles, each of which have at least 100,000 models on the roads. The eye-opening results demonstrated that the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio had the highest death rates, with over 100 Hyundai Accent drivers’ deaths. As you can imagine, Hyundai, in trying to explain away the results, claims their vehicle meets all US safety standards.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky hopes all parents take note, and help turn around a disturbing trend; parents not using proper child safety restraints in their vehicles. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken significant efforts in educating and assisting law enforcement in enforcement required child safety restraints, recent evidence demonstrates a rise in the number of children between 4 and 7 years of age, who are not properly restrained, and subject to serious injury in the event of a car accident. Incredibly, almost forty percent of all kids between the ages of 4 and 7 are not properly restrained.

Many parents are in a hurry to reward their children by moving them from baby seats to boosters. Unfortunately, the desire to advance children into a more “grown up” type seat actually places that child in danger. Research indicates that almost fifteen percent of kids younger than 3 were allowed to use booster seats too soon. However, this quick graduation to boosters is better than the nearly 55% of kids who are simply allowed to ride in a vehicle with no booster, only restrained by an adult seatbelt.

Too often parents disregard well publicized safety recommendations that children between the ages of 4 and 7 should not use a booster seat until they reach a large enough weight and height. Children who have not reached at least 35 inches and a weight of at least 40 pounds should remain in their harnessed child seat. Thereafter, children should use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet nine inches tall. Adult seatbelts are designed for an adult weighing greater than 125 pounds. When a child uses an adult seatbelt, their risk of serious injury is alarmingly high. However, when a child uses the appropriate seat and safety equipment, there is a nearly 50% decrease in the likelihood of serious injury in the event of a car accident.

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.

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.

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