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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

How negligence applies in car accidents

It is common for individuals to talk about negligence in conversations. Some may wonder how this applies in car accidents. Learning the answer can help Florida drivers to drive safer and avoid accidents. Also, it can help them to determine if they have a legal case if they are injured in a car accident.

Multiple caveats need to be fulfilled for negligence to apply to a car accident. The first caveat is the requirements for reasonable care. Everyone who has a driver's license in the United States is expected to operate their vehicle in a way that keeps others, drivers and pedestrians, as safe as possible. Second, there has to be evidence that would show that the driver did not exercise the reasonable care that was required of them. Finally, evidence has to show that the negligence of a driver caused personal losses or injuries.

Opioids causing more car accidents on U.S. roads

Drivers who cause deadly two-vehicle car accidents in Florida and across the U.S. are much more likely to test positive for prescription opioid use, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open. One of the study's co-authors said that the findings show America's opioid crisis is impacting traffic safety.

Researchers analyzed crash data from 18,321 fatal two-vehicle accidents listed in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Center for Statistics. They found that the drivers who were blamed for causing the wrecks were almost twice as likely to test positive for opioids and alcohol as those who were not at fault. They also found that 7.1% of drivers who caused deadly crashes tested positive for opioids in 2017. In comparison, just 2% tested positive in 1993. The study additionally found that failure to stay in one's lane was the most common driver error leading to these fatal crashes.

Avoid mistakes that could ruin your claim after an accident

If you are in an accident on one of Florida's streets or highways, you may have to think fast to avoid complicating your claim for compensation, whether through an insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Most drivers understand that they may be involved in a motor vehicle accident at some time in their lives, but few prepare for the possibility.

Understanding Florida laws related to accidents, injuries, insurance claims and other items can be complicated. The fact that these laws change frequently does not help. However, some basic information may improve your chances of emerging from an accident without making mistakes that could cost you dearly.

Most frequent factors behind truck collisions

Florida residents should know what factors are normally involved in truck accidents. This way, they may be more vigilant when sharing the road with big rigs. There are five common factors, the most widespread being driver error. Truckers, like anyone else, can be found driving drowsy, driving distracted, speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Some truckers are not trained properly on braking techniques, so it makes sense that bad weather would be another common cause of 18-wheeler accidents. Harsh braking over wet, icy or snowy roads can lead to a truck skidding, hydroplaning and even jackknifing.

How artificial intelligence may reduce distracted driving

Statistics from the National Safety Council reveal that at least nine individuals die and about 100 are injured in the United States each day because of accidents related to distracted driving. Florida residents may be interested in learning about how artificial intelligence and visual monitoring systems may be able to attack driver distraction and reduce car accidents.

Driving while distracted currently costs society around $40 million every year. This economic impact is almost the same as what society pays when it comes to DUIs, which is $44 million. Despite the fact that everyone knows driving while distracted is dangerous, this does not stop many people from using their phone to read and send text messages, check social media or use GPS. Other ways that drivers become distracted include interacting with children or pets, eating while driving, changing the radio station and looking at incidents that happen outside their own vehicle.

The dangers involved with eating and driving

People are busy, and in their effort to get from place to place on time, many Florida drivers opt to eat their meals on the go. In fact, you may be a person who occasionally hits the drive-thru on your way to work or you may swing by your favorite coffee shop to grab a drink in the afternoon. Eating and drinking while driving is very common, and it is also very dangerous. 

If a person is consuming food while also driving down the road, his or her focus is not where it should be. Doing anything other than solely focusing on the road can be quite risky, and it can place others on the road at risk as well. In reality, eating and driving is a form of distracted driving, which makes it reckless and unnecessary.

Tips for safe winter driving

Florida motorists may not have to contend with snow that much, but they still want to be careful when driving during the winter months. It all begins with determining when one must absolutely go outside and when one can stay inside. If work or errands require one to go outside, then the first thing to do is slow down so as to not slide on patches of ice. The faster one travels, the less traction there is between the tires and the ground.

In addition, drivers should neither accelerate nor decelerate too quickly. This will prevent skidding on the road. Drivers should keep a distance of five to six seconds from the vehicle in front; this is, in fact, good advice for any season.

Pedestrian and cyclist deaths increased in 2018

Florida readers might be interested to learn that traffic fatalities decreased by 2.4% across the United States in 2018, according to a new report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Further, the traffic accident death rate dropped from 1.17 per 100 million miles driven in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018, which is a decrease of 3.4%.

However, the news isn't so good for vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. According to the NHTSA report, which was issued on Oct. 22, 6,283 pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in 2018, which represents an increase of 3.4% from 2017. It is also the highest number of pedestrians to be killed since 1990. Meanwhile, 857 cyclists were killed last year, which represents a spike of 6.3%. Worse, deaths among female cyclists skyrocketed 29.2% in 2018. In comparison, deaths among male cyclists went up just 3.2%.

The risks of driving after the end of daylight saving time

Drowsiness can become a major issue for drivers in Florida in the days following the end of daylight saving time. The reason is that the change disrupts the body's sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythm, requiring the body to readjust over the course of several days. To make matters worse, some people stay up late before the end of DST, thinking that the extra hour of sleep will make up for it.

Some 328,000 car crashes occur annually in the U.S. because of drowsy driving. Around 109,000 of these crashes involve an injury, and 6,400 involve a fatality. According to the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia, drowsy driving crashes are more prevalent during the late afternoon commutes in the two weeks following the end of DST than in the two weeks preceding it.

Pedestrian death on the rise in Florida and nationwide

Taking a walk in Florida can be a pleasant experience. The wide blue skies and breezes from the Gulf of Mexico often entice residents and tourists to leave the car parked and walk to their destinations. Unfortunately, some walks that start out pleasant end up tragic.

A recent report from data that several safety advocacy groups collected reveals a staggering trend. Despite the billions of dollars federal and state governments spend on safety initiatives for pedestrians, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents continues to climb. Florida is among those states with the highest number of lives lost, and analysts say it will only get worse.

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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