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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

The potentially deadly consequences of speeding

It's the time of year when everyone is in a hurry. From work obligations to traveling to see family on the holidays, it seems like everyone has more to do and more places to be. As a result, many drivers face the increased temptation to speed. While speeding may make a person feel like he or she will get to his or her destination faster, that is not the case. It is not really faster to speed, but it is significantly more dangerous.

As there are more travelers and more drivers on the road during the holidays, it is reasonable to assume that there will be more accidents. Sadly, many Florida motor vehicle accidents are the result of negligence or reckless behaviors, and one of these includes speeding. If you were hurt in a car accident of any kind, there is a significant chance that speeding played a role in what happened to you.

Motorcycle crashes more likely to cause certain injuries

Florida motorcyclists know how essential safety precautions are when it comes to taking the streets on two wheels. Between 2001 and 2008, over 1,222,000 people were treated in emergency rooms in the United States for non-fatal injuries related to motorcycle crashes.

Motorcycle accidents and associated injuries are tracked by a number of institutions, including the Center for Disease Control, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, World Health Organization and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. They found that 30 percent of all non-fatal motorcycle injuries occurred on the legs and feet. The second most common type of injury, head and neck injuries, happened to 22 percent of crash victims.

Work to remain alert in construction zones

No matter where you are driving, you likely want to get to your destination in a timely and efficient manner. You may try to plan ahead and schedule your day so that you can accomplish all the tasks you need to do. As you drive, you may feel as if you will have the ability to accomplish everything you had hoped when suddenly you hit traffic.

Though traffic can happen for a number of reasons, having to travel through a construction zone can feel particularly tedious. Additionally, because these areas can pose a considerable number of hazards, you may find yourself struggling to pay attention to all of the different directions you may need to follow. Because you face such issues, you may want to assume that other drivers could also have a hard time, which could increase your risk of accident involvement.

Drowsy driving a health hazard in Florida and across U.S.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital have stated that over 9.5 million Americans work a night shift or rotational shift. Moreover, 28 percent of these admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the previous year. Drowsy driving, which is considered a public health hazard, may be more linked to shift work than some people realize.

The same researchers conducted a study to determine how the average night shift affects the average driver. They selected 16 night shift workers to participate in a series of two driving sessions, one after a sufficient night's sleep and the other after a typical night shift. It was this second session that exhibited greater signs of drowsiness and poorer driving performance.

Data regarding fatalities caused by smartphones insufficient

Some Florida drivers may be aware that, after decades of declining rates of car accident fatalities, the numbers have suddenly surged within the last few years. In fact, in 2016, more than 100 people died every day as a result of a car accident. Although regulators do not have any ideas as to why car accident deaths are on the rise once again, there are signs that it could be due to smartphone use.

Between 2014 and 2016, the number of American drivers who owned a smartphone rose from 75 percent to 81 percent. The way in which smartphones are commonly used has also changed; instead of talking on their phones while driving, many Americans text or use their social media continuously throughout the day, even when driving. Further, there have been major increases in the fatality rates of bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. All three of these groups of individuals are easy to miss when drivers keep glancing up from their smartphones.

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.

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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