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NHTSA warns of alcohol consumption and driving

Forty percent of all traffic crashes in Florida and the rest of the U.S. are caused by alcohol and mind-impairing drugs. Alcohol can impair a person's motor skills, judgment, and reaction times, and that effect is even greater on those under the age of 21, who are still physically developing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more to say about the effects of drinking and driving, some of which may be familiar and some unfamiliar. Besides judgment, alcohol can blur one's vision, slow the ability to focus, and impair the perception of speed, distance, and movement. It can even handicap one's ability to distinguish between colors.

Florida drivers need to know how to drive safely in the rain

People who live in Florida enjoy mild weather for much of the year. However, the state does get a significant amount of rain, and residents and visitors need to know how to drive safely during times of less-than-ideal weather. Poor driving in the rain leads to an increased chance of an accident and injuries to innocent motorists.

Safe driving during rainy weather requires simple common sense and knowledge of how to react in case of a hazard. Unfortunately, many people drive recklessly during bad weather, and the result is often preventable accidents, property damage and physical injuries suffered by innocent individuals. If you were hurt in an accident that happened in the rain, it may be the result of reckless or negligent driving.

The danger of truck driver fatigue

Researchers estimate that every year, more than 100,000 accidents in Florida and across the U.S. are caused by drowsy driving. Fatigue can affect anyone, but it's most often found in commercial truck drivers. This is especially bad news because truck accidents usually lead to catastrophic or fatal injuries.

Commercial truckers are known for working long shifts. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has instituted an hours of service schedule allowing them 14 consecutive on-duty hours each day. The organization requires truckers to take a break within the first eight hours of duty and to remain off duty for at least 10 hours before starting their next shift. Truckers carrying cargo are allowed 11 consecutive hours of service.

Sleep apnea testing for truck drivers challenged in court

Trucking accidents can be frightening for drivers on the roadways in Florida. Because a collision with a big rig can lead to severe injuries, major property damage and even death, safety concerns are magnified when it comes to these massive vehicles. One of the threats to trucking safety is the phenomenon of truck driver fatigue. Drowsy drivers can easily become dangerous drivers, dozing off behind the wheel or losing control when hazardous situations emerge.

Therefore, cutting down on truck driver fatigue and drowsy driving is an important public health priority for federal agencies. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association is currently facing a lawsuit by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association that challenges attempts to regulate and test for a common cause of truck driver fatigue, untreated sleep apnea. OOIDA says that FMCSA regulations for driver physical exams violate a 2013 federal law that requires the agency to go through a full rulemaking process for any potential regulations.

Injured by a drunk driver, can I sue the bar that served him?

Drunk driving accidents happen all too often in the state of Florida. If you've suffered injuries in one, you may have a lot of questions regarding your right to seek compensation for your losses and from whom. For instance, you know that the driver who hit you had just left a bar and now you want to know if you can sue the establishment for damages.

Dram shop laws do allow those injured in drunk driving accidents to sue establishments that sell alcohol. Every state is different in how they interpret the law though. Florida is pretty strict when it comes to pursing relief through dram shop claims.

States can act to improve highway safety

In Florida and across the United States, roadway safety is both a significant issue for drivers as well as a major public policy concern. Car accidents can be the cause of major property damage, severe personal injuries and even fatalities. A report by the National Governors Association aims to provide advice to state governors about action steps that can help reduce the risk of car accidents, injury crashes and roadway fatalities in their states. In particular, the report emphasizes the role of governors in coordinating statewide efforts to improve safety.

There are frequently a wide array of agencies and state departments that share tasks related to safety on the state's highways. For example, law enforcement agencies, regulatory departments and public health systems often collaborate. When a governor is strongly committed to road safety issues, he or she can play a major role in developing a coordinated statewide plan for highway safety. The NGA report set a goal for state action to achieve zero roadway fatalities.

Trucking group wants to change driver service hours rules

A trucking association is petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change service hours regulations for truck drivers in Florida and across the United States. The proposed changes would do away with a required 30-minute rest break and replace it with a rule that lets drivers pause their service clock to get a longer break.

According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the current rules are needlessly complicated and do not offer any flexibility to drivers. The association also claims that the rules make truckers drive at inopportune times, such as when they are fatigued, the weather is bad and roads are busy. As a result, the group wants the FMCSA to change the current hours of service regulations.

How April 20 impacts fatal car accident rates

April 20 has been known as a holiday for marijuana enthusiasts in Florida and throughout the country since 1992. As marijuana becomes increasingly legal in the United States, researchers wanted to know if there was an increased crash risk on that date. Researchers looked at crash data from 1992 to 2016 on April 20 as well as a day during the previous week and the week after it.

They determined that there was a 12 percent increase in fatal accidents on April 20 compared to the other dates studied. Research has shown that marijuana can impact a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. However, drivers don't seem to think that it has any impact on them. It is important to note that it is not clear if the increased accident rate on April 20 is because of marijuana use.

Will tougher laws make it safer for bikers in Florida?

Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation in Florida. With good weather for a large portion of the year, there are many who ride bikes for both enjoyment and transportation reasons. However, there could be certain risks associated with this particular type of transportation. Bikers and their passengers could be more vulnerable to injuries in the event of an accident.

Recently, a group of motorcyclists made their way to the state capitol to demonstrate to lawmakers the importance of motorcycle safety. One the goals of this demonstration is to encourage lawmakers to take a stronger stand against distracted driving. Currently, distracted drivers are one of the greatest threats to bikers and their passengers.

Insurers may set pricing based on smartphone use

Florida motorists may worry about the threats posed by distracted drivers who text and play with their smartphones while operating their vehicles. Research has shown that driving while texting can increase the risk of car accidents. Due to the widespread concern, insurance companies are taking note of the risk in their own pricing process.

One unit of Allstate is developing innovative software that tracks the use of a smartphone inside the operator's car while driving. Based on the type of use experienced, the insurer could set premiums based on a distracted driving benefit or penalty. The software makes use of a phone's accelerometer and gyroscope to measure the movement of the phone and its angle. This can differentiate between a phone left lying flat and one being moved and manipulated. It also measures app opening and usage and whether or not the phone is unlocked.

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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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