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Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky has seen with his own eyes a small silver lining in the ongoing pandemic, a significant drop in serious car accidents across Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches over the past few months. The recent reduction in car accidents and truck accidents is certainly due to the findings from recent studies by Florida Atlantic University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Louisiana State University, and the University of Hawaii all of whom analyzed information from the State of Florida Department of Transportation. Those studies confirmed a year over year drop of nearly forty-eight percent of motor vehicle traffic on Florida’s roads and highways.

As most of us know, vehicle traffic dropped once the State and most counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe ordered business to close or reduce capacity in hopes of slowing the spread of Covid-19.  According to the Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, the significant decrease in roadway traffic is either attributed to those closures or a general overall fear many Floridians have related to the virus.

Researchers noted a variance between vehicle traffic on roads in and around cities as compared to roads considered to be rural.  The study determined that around one million vehicles traveling each day along rural roadways showed a drop commencing in mid-March. Then comparing the number of that traffic to that along so-called city or urban roadways, the researches noticed approximately 5 million vehicles daily in the beginning of March, surging to a height of 7 million as the month progressed and dropping down to 3 million daily vehicles by the end of the month.

Having helped seriously injured victims of tractor trailer accidents across Florida for nearly thirty years, personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky is well aware of the reckless behavior that many truck drivers demonstrate daily upon our roads, including the Florida Turnpike and I-95.  However, we would be remiss if we did not remind our fellow drivers that they too must exercise caution when driving near a truck so as to help prevent deadly crashes.

Most car drivers don’t understand the limits tractor trailers have in being able to respond to the actions of another motorist. Professional drivers frequently encounter other drivers who are texting, talking on their phone rather than using a hands-free device, not allowing adequate distance when passing a tractor trailer or following too closely behind a truck. Tailgating is particularly dangerous, as truck drivers are not able to see a vehicle behind them unless it is far enough back to be visible in its sideview mirrors. Car drivers need to remember that tractor trailers have many blind spots.

Drivers need to remember that tractor trailers are not able to stop quickly, so when a car pulls out in front of a tractor trailer, which weighs nearly 80,000 pounds, they need to make sure there is enough room for the truck driver to stop if needed. When motorist fail to recognize the limitations truck drivers and their vehicles have, unfortunately deadly accident happen. In fact, recent studies demonstrated that nearly seventy percent of crashes in which a driver or passenger dies involve a collision between a car and a large truck.

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky is sorry to report that over the last year, pedestrian deaths increased to their greatest level in nearly 30 years, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. This increase in pedestrian wrongful deaths flies in the face of a nationwide drop in the number of car accident fatalities.

The report found that nearly 6,600 pedestrians died in car and truck accident related crashes over the past year, an uptick of almost five percent from 2018.  As one can imagine, the Association is dismayed by the data, which represents thousands of affected families.

While the researchers have difficulty determining the precise reason for the deadly increase, they attribute the rise to driver conduct including the ever increasing use of cellphones and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol – a situation which will only continue to rise due to the growing trend of legalized marijuana use. In fact, driver intoxication played a role in about one-third of all car accidents resulting in a pedestrian fatality, with about sixteen percent of all drivers involved in pedestrian related crashes being legally drunk.

While most people know that using a seatbelt is mandatory, and that buckling up saves lives, the same knowledge and law does not apply to rear-seat passengers. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds us that unfortunately too many motorists and their passengers fail to realize that those same lifesaving benefits should be used by rear-seat passengers. This is particularly important as according to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, more than 800 people died last year when they did not use a rear seatbelt in a vehicle which was involved in a car accident. Whether due to convenience, discomfort or lack of education, too many rear-seat passengers fail to see the need, particularly on shorter trips, to use their seatbelt.

The study found that over the past year, seventy-five percent of rear seat passengers used a seatbelt, which was a decrease from prior years. The crash wrongful deaths were not limited to cars, which accounted for half of the unbelted fatalities, an equal number involved rear-seat passengers in trucks and vans. The study concluded that if those rear-seat passengers were using a seatbelt, more than half would have survived the car accident.

The study was based upon an investigation of police reports and the damage from thousands of car and truck accidents and compared them to federal statistics. Those federal statistics confirm that rear-seat shoulder/lap seatbelts do prevent wrongful deaths in nearly fifty percent of crashes. When analyzed for those traveling in the rear of light trucks and vans, seatbelts were more than seventy percent effective in preventing wrongful deaths.  Despite the fact that those states with mandatory rear-seat seatbelt laws have a significantly greater survival rate in serious car accidents, Florida still does not have a mandatory rear-seat seatbelt law for passengers older than 18 years of age.

Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows too well the dangers bike riders face as they travel along our roadways either exercising or commuting. Sadly, recent government data suggest that the numbers of bike riders who died in car accidents rose nearly ten percent over the last decade. According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year was the deadliest in over ten years for bike riders. That rise, coupled with the rise in pedestrian roadway deaths, represents a U-turn from prior years when the number of bike and pedestrian wrongful deaths was steadily dropping. The NHTSA is rightfully concerned that advances in vehicle safety have helped reduce the number of drivers and passengers who die in car and truck accident, there has not been enough technological changes to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

While some car makers have begun to install automatic braking systems, which are designed to protect bike riders and pedestrians, the majority of manufacturers have not made such systems standard, instead only offering those as expensive options. As we’ve previously reported, due to the ever increasing problem of distracted driving and the rise in the number of large vehicles on the road, which are more deadly than cars, the need to protect those outside of vehicles has become a pressing need, particularly in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale where our weather encourages more outdoor activity, including walking and biking. Thankfully the vast number of car manufacturers have decided to get ahead of pending regulations and agreed to have emergency braking installed in all their vehicles by late 2022. Also, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is trying to motivate manufactures to speed up implementation of such equipment by letting manufacturers know that only vehicles with pedestrian detection and braking systems as standard equipment will be eligible for its Top Safety Pick rating. The IIHS believes autonomous braking will help motorists avoid nearly 30,000 car accidents and prevent over 10,000 injuries within the next 5 years.

In addition to automatic emergency braking, manufacturers are evaluating other pedestrian and cyclist safety measures, such as those being used in Europe, including using materials on bumpers which are less rigid, meaning they will cause less damage to a pedestrian. Other advances include the utilization of so-called artificial intelligence which will allow cars and trucks to react more quickly to unexpected dangers. AI is also being used to trigger faster responses from emergency personnel, including ambulances and fire rescue, which it is hoped will result in fewer serious car accident injuries.

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reports the results of a recently released AAA study which show wrongful deaths caused by motorists running red lights reached a 10-year high last year.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that nearly 1000 people lost their lives last year when a driver disregarded or tried to beat a red light. The number of preventable deaths rose on a year by year basis by more than thirty percent over the past decade. This deadly trend represents the fifth straight year of deaths attributed to red light crashes. The AAA study monitored everyone killed in a traffic light crash, including the driver, passengers and pedestrians and cyclists.

Not to stress this point, but according to Jack Nelson, the AAA director of traffic safety and research, “this is at least two people killed every day at the hands of drivers blowing through red lights.”

While the purpose of the study was not to determine the reason for the increase in red-light related car accident deaths, the AAA still postulated that one contributing factor is that we are driving more as a society. According to the data AAA tracked, the average number of miles motorist drove over the last ten years, since the great depression, increased by more than five percent, a figure confirmed by the Federal Highway Administration. Other uncontroverted factors include the exponential rise in the number of so-called smartphones being used by drivers and the increase in in-vehicle information and entertainment systems.

Some sobering news from Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky, contrary to popular belief, rear seat car passengers may actually be at a greater risk of being seriously or even dying as compared to someone sitting as a passenger in the front seat when a Ft. Lauderdale car accident happens.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who conducted the study, the primary reason for the greater likelihood for rear-seat passengers being seriously injured in head-on collisions is that back seats do not provide the same level of passenger protection as provided to front seat passengers when a car accident happens.

Examples of the differences between front and rear seat vehicle accident protections include poorly designed rear seat, seat belts, which actually subject rear-seat passengers to dangers which against which front seat passengers are protected in car accidents. While front seats have seat belt pre-tensioners, which act to engage a seat belt before a crash happens, while at the same time providing the occupant with room to lessen a potential injury, those systems are not as prominent or efficient for back seat passengers when a Miami car accident happens.

The Institute’s study involved a detailed reviewed more than one hundred deadly car accidents, those in which teenagers and adults were actually using rear-seat safety belts. The results demonstrated that many rear-seat passengers suffered serious and deadly chest injuries in car crashes due to safety belts which were not adequately designed to prevent serious injuries. In some cases, back-seat passengers suffered chest injuries from belts which were too tight. In other car crashes, the rear-seat passengers sadly struck their heads against the seat back in front of them, resulting in serious head injuries including concussions. The institute recommended car manufacturers consider installing airbags on the back of front seats, so as to offer another level of protection for rear seat passengers; no such technology is installed in any vehicle at this time, although some car makers have installed inflatable seat-belts.

More traffic wrongful death data from Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky,while the number of people killed in traffic crashes in 2017 exceeded 37,000, a drop of nearly 2% from the prior year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; according to the World Health Organization, the number of traffic-related deaths rose to move than 1.35 million last year. The WHO’s report on Road Safety determined that deaths from car accident are now the 8thleading cause of death, resulting in more than $800 billion dollars of damages world-wide last year alone.

And of course, Florida again is considered one of the most deadly states for car accident deaths, partially due to some of the most lenient driving laws in the country.

Car accident dangers are evaluated in the study in 5 categories including occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen driving, drunk driving and distracted driving. Florida drivers demonstrated some of the most dangerous behaviors resulting in 2,922 fatal crashes with over three thousand car accident wrongful deaths in 2017.U.S. crash deaths fell slightly in 2017 but still reflected the second-deadliest year on the road in the last decade. As expected, given Florida’s recent rise in legal marijuana use, some of the most frequent causes of deadly car accident include drugged driving and distracted driving.

Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds everyone living in South Florida that contrary to popular opinion, walking along Florida’s roadways is more dangerous than you think. In fact, the likelihood of being struck by a car as a pedestrian, in what is referred to as a pedestrian accident, is higher in Florida than in anywhere else in America. Incredibly, nearly one-half of the deadliest cities for pedestrians are in Florida. According to a report from the National Complete Streets Coalition, the leaders are Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

When politicians and planning mapped out our state, their desire was for efficient and fast travel. Unfortunately, that quest for speed had the unwanted effect of making pedestrian safety an afterthought. Considering more than 4,000 pedestrians die each year in car accident, a rate of one wrongful death pedestrian car accident every two hours, it is no wonder that pedestrian wrongful deaths from car accidents have actually rise over the past few years, while car accident deaths have actually dropped about six percent in the same time period.

Florida had almost 5,500 pedestrian wrongful deaths in the past decade; a fatality rate of 2.73 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people, which equates to the study’s a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 182.0. The number of car accident versus pedestrian deaths in Florida is significantly higher than the national average of 1.55 per 100,000 and a PDI of 55. We are significantly higher than states with larger populations, including Texas, California and New York.

According to Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky, recent car accident data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demonstrates a mixed bag of news regarding wrongful deaths from car accidents. While the NHTSA’s statistics show that while car accident deaths were less in 2017, compared to the prior year, they were still the 2nd highest over the past ten years. The reality is that more than thirty seven thousand drivers and passengers lost their lives in 2017; which represented a nearly two percent drop from the prior year.

In addition to the number of motorist deaths, sadly, the number of pedestrians and bicycle riders who died in car accidents remained overly high, at nearly six thousand. However, this too was a drop of almost two percent from the year before, but 2017 was the second most deadly year over the past thirty for pedestrians involved in car accidents.

Personal injury Lipsky agrees that the NHTSA’s figures are encouraging but do not under any circumstance represent a reason for celebration, as the overall trend of rising motorist and passenger deaths over the past decade remains alarmingly high. Common sense certainly shows that the increase in the number of distracted drivers, and those under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, which has since been legalized in Florida for medicinal purposes, remain a prevalent danger to both motorists and pedestrians. And while the statistics demonstrate that less than ten percent of traffic deaths are related to driver distraction, the NHTSA is the first to readily admit that the real number is certainly significantly higher. The primary reason for the inaccurate number of distracted driver accident can be attributed to the fact that drivers do not readily admit their use of smart phones, making it  difficulty to adequate quantify the true number of drivers using their phones to talk or text while driving. We agree that this ever increasing problem warrants further investigation by the legislature to enact sensible laws, and by the police to enforce those laws already in effect, whose purpose is to properly discourage motorists from driving while distracted.

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