When it comes to distracted driving, Florida ranks second in the country according to a recent study, which clearly suggests we all need to put down your phones. The findings suggest 92 percent of drivers nationwide with cell phones have used them while in a moving car in the past 30 days, according to EverQuote Inc., the online insurance firm that released the study's results. The study compiled data through 2.7 million vehicle trips and 230 million miles drives through a motion-sensing app to detect speeding, quick acceleration, hard braking, and other bad driving traits while the phone was in use carried by drivers on their smartphones over millions of miles between April 2016 and March 2017 .
We are all aware that texting while driving became illegal in Florida in 2013, but it's only a secondary offense. That means the driver must be pulled over for something else first. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2015 a total of 39,468 people were injured and 216 more were killed as a result of distracted driving. Forty-six states think texting and driving is so dangerous it's banned. Will Florida be next? Many are pushing for it, but there are those in the state House that say the cost of freedom is too high. The legislation has cleared two Senate committees, but its sponsor, Senator Rene Garcia, is not optimistic. "I think it's on life support, unfortunately. I hear that the house is reluctant to move the bill," Garcia said. Last week the Senate Committee on Communications, Energy and Public Utilities discussed SB 144 introduced by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah. The committee approved the bill that's in its infancy, while agreeing it needs more work.
Spring break is quickly approaching and local authorities are preparing for the vacationers with a word of warning. Hotels and resorts say the season is longer this year, about eight weeks in total. Crackdowns in traditional destinations for college-age kids have the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) on alert. After Bay County/Panama City Beach passed several laws that starting March 1st, you cannot drink alcohol on the sandy beach or in commercial parking lots in March, ending alcohol sales at 2 a.m. and preventing overnight scooter rentals, many college-aged kids moved west to Walton and Okaloosa County to enjoy their spring break. Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office has already sent letters to several colleges and high school campuses warning them to follow the rules.
The Pensacola News Journal and WEAR - Channel3 reports that four of the top 50 deadliest roads in the country pass through Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, according to an analysis of National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration data performed by consumer research firm ValuePenguin. The firm pulled NTHSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from 2011 to 2015 and found Interstate 10, U.S. 98, U.S. 90 and U.S. 29 all to be among the most dangerous roads in the country based on the occurrence of fatal accidents per 100 miles. The analysis looked at road length as a replacement for ridership since many of the roads extend across several states. Interstate 10, which stretches through Northwest Florida from Jacksonville to California, was ranked as the fourth most dangerous road, with 54½ deaths per 100 miles. The interstate was also ranked as the second darkest road, based upon 472 deaths which occurred in dark areas, as well as the fourth most likely road for accidents involving a drunk driver with 310 deaths. U.S. 90 was ranked as the 29th most dangerous road based upon 342 fatal accidents or 20.9 fatal accidents per 100 miles, U.S. 98 followed up at 31st with 188 accidents or 20 fatal accidents per 100 miles. U.S. 29.
Insurance giant GEICO is being scrutinized after an East St Louis trucking company recently filed a lawsuit against the firm. According to a report in the Madison-St Clair Record, Beelman Truck Company filed the complaint alleging that GEICO had breached its duty to retain and preserve a vehicle that was to be used as part of it's defense in an underlying car accident lawsuit with claimant, Vera Rees.
A Pensacola man has been charged for running a stop sign after a two-vehicle crash that involved six people and left one woman with serious injuries. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), 20-year-old male was driving a GMC Sierra south on Pompano Street approaching a stop sign at the Kingsfield Road intersection earlier this month. Meanwhile a 32-year-old male was driving a Nissan Altima west on Kingsfield Road approaching Pompano Street. FHP says the GMC Sierra failed to stop at the stop sign and crashed into the right side of the Altima. The Sierra came to a final rest facing a southern direction in the intersection. The Altima was facing a westerly direction in the eastbound lane of Kingsfield Road. The GMC Sierra driver and a minor passenger both suffered minor injuries. The driver of the Altima and two other passengers also experienced minor injuries. However a third passenger of the Altima, a 35-year-old female suffered serious injuries and was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital.
Several counties across the state are working to educate parents when it comes to installing a child car seat. Organizations are coming together to check car seats in parent's cars. They are also answering questions on how to install car seats. Officials with Healthy Start want to change that by informing parents about car seat safety. They are urging parents to pay close attention to their child's car seat. Taylor is the Special Programs coordinator at Healthy Start. He told Channel 7 WJHG, that parents should look for a seat that is structurally sound and installed properly so that it keeps the child in the seat in the event of a crash. Other helpful information that Taylor told Channel 7 was that many parents don't know important details about car seats like knowing that the seats have an expiration date. "Plastic is of course susceptible to the sun and it does break down," explained Taylor. "Another thing a lot of people don't understand is if the car seat's ever been in an accident its supposed to be replaced."
Now that everyone in our area is back in school, many are contemplating playing a sport. More than half of all students participate in sports. You hear a lot about concussions being a concern in football but coaches say all athletes need to know their risk. As far as having an injury to the head such as a concussion, there is an increased knowledge of the effects of a brain injury. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the body, with a force transmitted to the head, causing an injury to the brain. Because kids are not fully physically developed, having thinner skulls and weaker neck muscles, they are more susceptible to concussions. Concussions have been estimated to account for 9 percent of all high school athletic injuries. However, it is estimated that 50 percent to 75 percent of concussions among high school athletes go unreported. What is most alarming in youth sports is that those 13 and younger are more likely to receive a concussion, and most of those are not reported.
Did you know how many child restraints in vehicles are used incorrectly? Anywhere from 72% to 84% of child restraints show critical misuses. The most common forms of misuse are using the wrong seat for the child's age and weight, loose safety belt attachment to the car seat and loose harness straps on the child. This is scary because another statistic says 96% of parents believe their child safety seats are installed correctly. Meanwhile these misuses increase a child's risk of injury during a crash.