A 17-year-old Niceville girl was seriously injured Sunday afternoon when she failed to negotiate a turn approaching the Mid-Bay Bridge. She was driving a 1997 Lexus northbound on State Road 293 when she entered a curve in the roadway and lost control of her car. This caused her to strike two southbound cars, one of which then hit a fourth car. The first vehicle she struck was a 24 year old man from Destin. He was not injured. The occupants of third car — which the 17 year-old hit head-on — where two young men from Marietta, Georgia. They were both injured. The fourth car was driven by a female from DeFuniak Springs who was also injured. The Niceville girl was charged with failing to maintain lane of travel.
Failure to maintain single lane is a traffic rule violation. A police officer can pull over a driver if the driver’s tires cross a lane divider or the edge line. Florida law (Florida Statutes §316.089) states whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic…a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
NHTSA did a study several years ago to evaluate the cause of car accidents. The researchers found out about 22 percent of the vehicles ran off the edge of the road, so maybe a Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system would help prevent these types of accidents. They also found out that about 11 percent of the vehicles failed to stay in the proper lane, therefore a departure warning systems might help drivers before they leave their lane. Another thing they found was that there was an additional 12 percent of the vehicles were stopped and about 9 percent lost control prior to the crash. The information collected on these crashes could help in the development of collision-avoidance/warning systems that warn a driver of possible collisions.