There are over 20,000 car accidents in Florida every year. Preliminary counts of South Florida traffic deaths in 2015 suggest a sharp increase. In Palm Beach County, for example, The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles counted a 29 percent increase in the first six months of the years to the first six months of 2014 – 102 deaths versus 79 deaths. Motor vehicle fatalities in Florida were also up 29 percent and nationally, up 14 percent. traffic8

There is of course the growing element of distraction now that most every driver has access to their own person computer at all times via their smart phone. But there is something else going on, researchers say.

We are now at the tail end of what has been one of the longest roads to economic recovery since the end of WW II. The labor market has improved. Unemployment is down. So are gas prices. This has meant people have more money in their pocket. More freedom to take a trip. More incentive to take a private vehicle rather than opt for public transportation or bicycling. In turn, there are more vehicles on the road and a higher likelihood of traffic deaths. Continue reading

You may have heard of Florida’s dram shop law, which allows drunk driving victims in some cases to recover damages from the establishment that served alcohol to the impaired driver. As far as dram shop laws go, it’s not the greatest; it only allows compensation when the driver was under 21 or known to habitually abuse alcohol. Still, it’s an important resource for some victims of these wholly preventable collisions. druggedriving

Now, given the precedent set by a recent settlement agreement in Minnesota, there may be another alternative for victims of drugged drivers: Action against the doctor or clinic where the driver received prescription medications.

Given the fact that Florida was not long ago labeled the “Oxy Express” and that abuse of prescription painkillers led to an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose, it’s likely we might see similar cases crop up here. Continue reading

It was just a few short months ago that Uber was granted permission to operate once again in Broward County, after commissioners caved and eased regulations for this and similar ride-sharing services. The public fought hard to bring the service back, flooding local leaders with email, snail mail and voice mail messages. Mayor Tim Ryan called the issue, “The millstone around our collective necks.” driving9

Meanwhile, Palm Beach County leaders put the brakes on any decision until this spring, and Miami-Dade is weighing regulatory proposals now. But there is another side to this coin: Lack of driver and vehicle regulation could put the public at higher risk for injury.

This is what is being alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber following a December 27th fiery crash in Miami. According to The Miami Herald, 20-year-old Pablo Sanchez Jr., a pharmacy student, had contacted an Uber ride using the app on his cell phone. He was looking for a ride for himself and five friends from downtown Miami to his parents’ home 30 miles away in Country Walk. A driver picked them up and they were almost there when the driver allegedly turned left into oncoming traffic. The Uber driver’s sport utility vehicle burst into flames. The driver got out, as did all of Sanchez’s friends. However, he was trapped and died inside.  Continue reading

For the second Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. day in a row, throngs of riders on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and mopeds took the highways of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. According to those on the informal, unsanctioned ride, it was about civil rights. It was about honoring King’s legacy of non-violence. wheelie

However, police say that was nothing more than a guise to pull roadway stunts that endangered the traveling public. Some of the actions observed by police and others:

  • Running red lights;
  • Popping wheelies;
  • Speeding;
  • Driving in the wrong lanes;
  • Taking photographs and video of other riders while operating vehicles.

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Imagine driving along a dark stretch of a four-lane highway. A few taillights pass. Then suddenly, you see headlights suddenly flash. They’re right in front of you. It’s too late to do anything but brace. highway09

It’s a nightmare that plays out all too often in real life for drivers in South Florida. The impact of these collisions are often violent. They are often fatal. Officials are forced to halt traffic on major highways for hours as they launch complex investigations and massive cleanup efforts.

It’s a scenario local law enforcement and other safety advocates are fighting to end.  Continue reading

A circuit judge has dismissed the Florida premises liability lawsuit against rapper Rick Ross and his mother for injuries suffered a Miami home the two co-own. irongate

Although news reports do not detail exactly why the judge dismissed the claim, we do know that Ross had described the allegations as “vague.” 

The alleged victim stated the incident occurred in December 2011 at a residence owned by Ross and his mother. Victim stated there was iron hardware that was left at ground level. Specifically, there was a rail on the ground connected to an iron rail at the rear of the property.  Continue reading

Florida law provides broad protections for those who suffer injury due to the aggression of dogs belonging to others. F.S. 767 details the state’s “Damage by Dogs” laws. That of course includes bites, but it could also mean other types of injuries inflicted without a bite. dog1

F.S. 767.01 specifically says owners of dogs “shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person.” There is a separate statute, F.S. 767.04, that states the owner of a dog who bites any lawfully present person is liable for the actions of the dog – even if the owner had no prior indication the dog was vicious.

In a recent case out of Nebraska, a plaintiff and her husband sued the owner of two dogs who chased – but never bit or touched – them. As a result of being charged by the dogs (one in particular in the unfenced yard with no restraint), plaintiff fell backward and injured her elbow.  Continue reading

The Sun-Sentinel described the cloudy conditions that hung over the road a “pea-soup fog.” It was there that two Florida Power & Light linemen, colleagues and also best friends, were driving. roadfog

They were there to pick up some overtime, and the chance to work together made it not feel so much like work. Both men were saving up for family vacations to Europe, so they had been together a lot lately on those extra shifts. 

But something happened. Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what it was, but they do know it was about 8:15 a.m. and it was extremely foggy. The pair were on a dirt road near U.S. 27. The vehicle overturned. The truck rolled into a nearby canal. It was nearly an hour before rescue crews responded to the scene, where someone had called to report a vehicle upside down in the canal. The men were both pulled from the truck, where they were pronounced dead at the scene.  Continue reading

It seems like an impossible notion:nightstreet

A full year in Fort Lauderdale with no one killed while crossing the street or riding a bicycle or driving a car. It seems like such a distant reality from the one we are in, where this city is No. 2 in the nation for its pedestrian fatality rate and No. 5 in the nation for its overall traffic fatality rate.

Still, it’s a dream the city’s transportation manager Debbie Griner insists is achievable. Griner recently told The Sun-Sentinel that their offices are committed to changing the perception that such incidents are simply “accidents,” facts of life over which people have no control. Rather, she says, these are incidents that can be avoided. Every single person who lives, works or visits this area has an opportunity to prevent traffic deaths, and Griner believes city leaders can empower them to do so.  Continue reading

Weeks ahead of Christmas, Elliot F. Kaye, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, issued a statement indicating mounting concerns about injuries relating to the season’s hottest new toy: The hoverboard. emergency1

The device (which does not hover) is perhaps better described as a chargeable, self-balancing motorized scooter. The problems with the issue are reportedly two-fold:

  • They catch fire.
  • They pose significant fall hazards.

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