Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Florida wins again, but again this definitely not good news to pedestrians. According to a recent study, Florida has the honor of having the greatest rate of pedestrian wrongful deaths from car accidents in America.  Incredibly, pedestrians in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Parkland are four times more likely to die in a car accident than in places like Boston or even New York. And while the study blames pedestrians for being distracted by their phones, being intoxicated and crossing outside of marked crosswalks, more attention is being placed upon the roadways themselves.

Florida’s older roadways, which were not designed for active populations, often times play an integral role in pedestrian accidents. Specifically, pedestrian friendly sidewalks and crosswalks are lacking along many roadways which are shared with cars driving at what used to be considered as highway speeds. Pedestrians seeking to cross roadways usually have to walk great distances to access a crosswalk, often 1000 feet away.  While common sense should cause pedestrians to use those crosswalks, most people cross where they are, rather than walking 1000 feet out of their way.

Those of us who live in more westerly cities, which were originally built decades ago when most of the land was agricultural, know that many roads were built without any adjoining sidewalks. Now as the population has shifted towards the suburbs, many residents now confront dangerous roadway conditions on a daily basis. The Florida Department of Transportation has begun to address our outdated roadways but taking efforts to reduce driver speeds, such as by making narrower vehicle lanes and placing trees closer to the roadways.

A recent study by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic and Safety sheds new light on the lasting effects of distracted driving that smartphone use has on drivers, even when they only use their phone while the car is stopped. While most people believe that it is safe to text, read email or talk on their phone while they are stopped at a red light, research demonstrates that even such limited cellphone use results in what researchers are calling a hangover effect.

Considering the increasing number of car accident related wrongful deaths, it is imperative that all motorists understand how dangerous any smartphone while behind the wheel is. The AAA’s study revealed that a driver’s mind remains distracted for nearly half a minute after simply sending a text while their vehicle is stopped. The driver’s mind remains focused on the message they just sent, rather than on driving their vehicle.  The researchers refer to the post cellphone use as inattention blindness, and essentially blocks out other stimulus, such as other cars, traffic signs and even pedestrians.

This finding is concerning, particularly since car manufacturers and technology companies are rapidly making “advances” in allowing motorists to more readily remain on-line, such as with heads-up displays. While allowing motorists to see information on their windshield, rather than looking at the dashboard or phone, sounds safer, that motorist is equally as distracted. The AAA is actually recommending that all vehicles have technology which prohibits a driver from using smartphone technology with the car is moving.  And, while voice activated technology may aide motorists, not all vehicles have seamless technology integrated into them, which may actually cause a well intending motorist to become more distracted.

According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the most dangerous drivers on Florida’s roadways are so-called Millennials. Not surprisingly, the reason these 19 to 24 year olds cause so many car accidents is because they regularly are distracted drivers who text while driving, feel speeding is acceptable and regularly run red lights. Incredibly, Millennials are more dangerous and take more risks behind the wheel than even new 16 to 18 year old drivers.

The actual statistics are truly concerning. The AAA’s study revealed that sixty percent of Millenial drivers actually admit to sending a text or email while operating a motor vehicle.  That admitted rate is nearly twice as high as all other age groups of drivers.  Also, almost 50% of Millenials admitted to running a red light, one they could have easily stopped for, a rate that is almost 25% greater than other age groups.

Millennials also admit to regularly driving more than 10 m.p.h. over the posted speed limits in school zones. That behavior which endangers children and demonstrates a disregard of some of the most costly traffic ticket consequences is a rate which is more than double that of all other age groups of drivers. We, as Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers, share the same concerns as the AAA; that a large population of drivers is willing to regularly take unnecessary risks which needlessly increase the chance of being in a deadly car accident. Considering fatal car accident deaths rose more than 7% over the last year, this accepted recklessness should be truly concerning to Florida drivers.

Due to a dramatic rise in the number of Florida car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recently brought back their Arrive Alive safety campaign. Fort Lauderdale personal injury Lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows too well that because of its weather, rising population and ever popular destination for tourists, Florida is always one of the most-deadly states for driving.

The updated Arrive Alive campaign is a statewide safety program which brings together the resources of all police departments and the Department of Transportation, who with the use of real-time data hope to stem the residing tide of deadly car accidents. The State moved forward with its initiative after recent statistics demonstrated a rapid rise in Florida car accident caused wrongful deaths, increasing from 2500 in 2014, to more than 3000 in 2016. Incredibly, nearly 150 people have needlessly lost their lives on Florida’s roadways this year.

Not surprisingly, Florida is not alone in experiencing a rise in deadly car accidents. Nationally, car accident wrongful deaths increased more than 7 percent of the same time period. Yet, multiple studies show that Florida’s roads, due to a lack of safety laws, remains a leader in dangerousness. Some of the needed safety laws include police enforcement of passenger seat belt usage, mandatory motorcycle helmet use and a ban on texting while driving.

Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky reports an unsettling trend about a rapid increase in the number of wrongful deaths involving pedestrians.   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) just issued their latest report of traffic deaths, and sadly they note that the number of pedestrian wrongful deaths rose by almost ten percent last year.  This surprising increase in pedestrian fatalities was the largest in nearly 20 years.

Last year over 5,300 pedestrians died after being struck by a car or truck, an increase of more than 500 from the prior year. This increase was greater than the percentage of all traffic/driver or passenger fatalities, which rose just more than seven percent. Incredibly, Fort Lauderdale was the 6th most dangerous city for pedestrian deaths. This rise in roadway wrongful deaths reversed an almost 10 year drop in the number of annual traffic related fatalities.  In fact, 2014 saw a nearly 10,000 drop in deaths from just 8 years earlier. The rise in pedestrian deaths tied in with a similar rise in wrongful deaths of motorcycle and bicycle riders, of almost five percent over the past 10 years.

While government sponsored safety efforts and rapid increase in vehicle accident prevention technology, have had a beneficial effect upon vehicle occupants, by increasing seat-belt use and lowering the rate of drunk drivers, the same advances and efforts have ignored pedestrian safety.

Miami car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows most drivers are aware of the likelihood of car accidents caused by drunk drivers or distracted drivers. However, those same motorists are generally unaware of the dangers caused by drivers who get behind the wheel when they are drowsy or sleepy. Sadly, studies prove that motorists who drive with less than 5 hours of sleep are two times as likely to have a car accident when compared to drivers who get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Basically, the less sleep a driver has, the greater likelihood of having a car accident.

Research shows that the less sleep a driver gets, the greater likelihood they will be in a car accident. In fact, drivers who have slept less than 4 hours a night have four times the number of car accidents, a ratio approaching the dangers of drunk driving.  As the AAA states, anyone who has slept less than 7 hours over a 24 hour period should not drive a vehicle.

Earlier research demonstrates that nearly 20 percent of wrongful death car accidents in the United States involve a drowsy or sleepy driver. Last year, a total of over thirty-five thousand people died in car accidents across the United States according to research collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This was more than a seven percent increase in car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths over the prior year. The information used by the NHTSA came directly from car accident police reports which were limited to crashes in which at least one vehicle was towed from the crash location or where an ambulance responded to provide medical care to an injured driver or passenger. The drivers involved in those car accidents informed investigators about the amount of sleep they had in the prior twenty-four hours.

Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky wants owners of Ford vehicles to be aware of a potentially dangerous problem with seat belts which can fail and cause life threatening personal injuries. Ford just announced a recall of nearly 700,000 vehicles because a vehicle defect with their seat belt anchors can overhead resulting them breaking during a crash.  The anchors are part of the vehicle’s pretensioner system which is designed to tighten up seat belt webbing slack and work together with the vehicle’s air bag system.

As Ford says, the defect which affects 2016 – 2016 Fusions, 2013 – 2015 Lincoln MKZ’s and 2015 – 2016 Mondeo’s “may inadequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing risk of injury,” resulting in personal injuries which the seat belts were designed to prevent. To date, this known defect has resulted in at least two separate injuries.  Ford’s recall is supposed to commence in early January 2017. The anticipated repair will involve a Ford dealer mechanic injecting an insulating coating around the anchor. The coating will keep the anchor cool, allowing the seat belt to restrain the occupant as designed in the event of a car accident.

According to the Centers for Disease Control not only do seat belts prevent vehicle occupants from being thrown from their vehicle during a crash, as evidenced by research of traffic death statistics which demonstrates that occupants not using seat belts are nearly thirty times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle during a crash. Not surprisingly, almost 75% of people thrown from a vehicle during a wreck are likely to suffer fatal injuries. Considering over 15,000 people’s lives are saved each year by seat belt use, Ford’s faulty design jeopardizes hundreds of thousands of vehicle occupants’ lives safety. Additionally, failing to use a seat belt greatly increases the likelihood of serious injuries caused by vehicle occupants striking the dashboard and windshield.

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.

As a Florida personal injury attorney for over 25 years, Joseph Lipsky is concerned about the impending arrival of so-called self-driving or autonomous cars. Given the race by all automobile manufacturers to see who can get their cars on the road the fastest, as an attorney representing seriously injured victims of car accidents, Joseph Lipsky, like many of his fellow motorists, is concerned that the self-driving race will lead to dangerous situations for consumers. Now it finally appears the federal government understands this concern as they just released rules which are meant to guide car manufacturers about how they should rollout their technology on our roadways.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the new rules will go into place immediately.  The hope is that these rules will provide a unified understanding of what self-driving cars and trucks must have and be able to do in order to be considered safe. These rules begin with a 15 point Safety Assessment which manufactures must document in their vehicles. The 15 points include:

Operational Design Domain – How and where the vehicle is supposed to operate

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