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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Car crash deaths at a 9-year high in U.S.

Florida motorists may have heard that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that in 2016, a total of 37,461 people died in car crashes around the country, a high not seen since 2007, when 41,259 people died. There was a 4 percent increase in deaths caused by speeding and a 4.6 percent increase in deaths due to not buckling up, though a growing culprit, distracted driving, was actually responsible for 2.2 percent fewer deaths than the previous year.

However, distracted driving is still a major issue, especially with the advent of new technology. A study conducted by AAA found that vehicle touchscreen systems that allow drivers to use them while in motion are a major cause of accidents. Motorcycle deaths also rose by 5.1 percent and pedestrian deaths by 9 percent.

Put down the burger: The dangers of eating while driving

Florida readers know that distracted driving is a major threat to the safety and well-being of every individual on the roads. Drivers and passengers are not the only people who face the dangers involved with this type of negligent behavior; pedestrians and cyclists are also at risk. Although people often associate distraction with cell phones, there are other very dangerous types of distracted driving.

One of the many sources of distracted driving is eating while driving. Most drivers have consumed a meal or a drink while operating a vehicle, and while this may seem like a benign behavior, studies show that eating is actually quite dangerous.

New technologies may be making vehicles more dangerous

A study sponsored by the American Automobile Association indicates that people who are shopping for cars want the latest technology, and that the technology may actually make driving more dangerous. Drivers in Florida and across the country want their vehicles to come equipped with features for hands-free calling and texting, and they want the latest in fancy dashboards. With backing from AAA, researchers from the University of Utah found that, of 30 systems examined in 2017 model cars, none required only a low level of demand on the part of drivers.

Seven of the systems put a moderate demand on driver attention and the remaining 23 systems required high or very high levels of demand. According to a co-author of the study, car makers should be more selective based on vehicle safety. Technology in motor vehicles is not an inherently bad thing, he said, but technology that is not relevant to driving may cause safety problems.

Could dram shop liability play a role in your case?

Drunk driving is both inexcusable and irresponsible, and innocent people are often the ones who suffer because of this type of behavior. If you suffered harm because of a drunk driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as your accident-related financial losses. 

However, the driver may not be the only liable party. Florida law allows for victims to name the dram shop, which is the place where the alcohol came from, as a liable party in a civil claim. Before you move forward with your case, you would be wise to find out if dram shop liability could play a role in your case.

How to safely share the road with large trucks

Florida motorists may not relish the thought of driving next to a large truck. However, there are ways that they can safely share the road with them. For instance, drivers should resist the urge to speed up and get in front of a truck if it starts to drift into their lane. In most cases, the truck won't be able to slow down in time to avoid an accident.

It may also be a good idea to assume that the driver of a large truck cannot see a passenger vehicle. Therefore, drivers of passenger vehicles should try to avoid being directly beside or behind a large truck. They should also provide larger trucks more room when they need to make a turn. The same is also true when a passenger vehicle attempts to pass a large truck on the road.

Seat belts save lives even on local trips

Only two states were the scene of more fatal car accidents than Florida in 2013 according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but there are steps that motorists in the Sunshine State can take to increase their chances of reaching their destinations unharmed. Experts say that reducing their speeds, fastening their seat belts and remaining alert are the best things that drivers can do to mitigate their accident risks, and this advice may especially useful to motorists who are making short trips on roads they know well.

Research has yet to fully unravel the inner workings of the human brain, but science does know that repetitive tasks are often delegated to the subconscious mind. This can be dangerous when driving on familiar roads as motorists who have realized with a start that they do not remember covering the last couple of miles can attest. When driving duties are being handled on a subconscious level, drivers are not as prepared to respond to emergency situations and less likely to see dangers looming ahead.

Personal perceptions differ on texting while driving.

For Florida drivers, as well as those around the country, there are strong disparities in the concept of distracted driving. Often, people are against an unsafe driving habit but believe they themselves are able to handle the unsafe habit. Such is the case with texting while driving.

In a recent insurance company survey, more than 90 percent of the 1,000 participants believe texting and driving should be illegal. Among the younger participants, however, the majority believes they are capable of safely text while operating a motor vehicle. For older individuals, or those over 55, the number drops to less than 10 percent.

A collision can be more than just a pain in your neck

There are a multitude of injuries that can occur during a motor vehicle accident, some of which might not exhibit immediate symptoms. However, despite the delay, these injuries can be exceedingly painful, and in some cases, they may lead to long-term or permanent damage.

If you have been in a collision, you may have walked away feeling lucky, only to wake up days later feeling as if the incident just took place. If this sounds familiar, like many others, you may be suffering from the effects of whiplash.

When slow driving is hazardous

Florida residents might think that speeding is more dangerous than driving slowly. While this is true in many cases, there are times when driving too slow is also risky behavior. Both reckless and overly cautious drivers can present challenges to others.

Driving within the minimum and maximum speed limits is the safest best, but one should also determine an appropriate speed by looking at other traffic on the road. Motorists should avoid going substantially slower than other vehicles and watch for those moving at a crawl.

Vigilance for fall driving

After a long summer, many Florida residents enjoy the respite that fall provides. Mild temperatures bring colorful leaves, pumpkin patches and apple cider. However, autumn also welcomes some hazardous driving conditions. For example, those bright and colorful leaves can make driving conditions slippery and hide traffic lines.

The fall season also increases the likelihood of fog. Areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains and trees will see the most fog because the chilly temperatures of fall make fog more likely in such areas. To improve visibility, many drivers use the high beams on their vehicles when driving through fog. This can be a big mistake. Instead, drivers should use their low beams because high beams tend to bounce off of the fog and create a glare.

Father And Son Team Working Together To Serve Our Clients

Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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