Auto insurance companies trying to set rates by zip codes, according to a recent article in Palm Beach Post. This was an attempt by a group of car insurance companies to have a state law that would allow them to set rates in a territory as small as one zip code. Since the Florida legislature is no longer in session, this attempt appears to be a dead bill that will have to wait another year. According to the Consumer Federation of America, this dead bill was a good thing. According to this think tank, there could have been a high potential for abuse, and potentially creating pockets of high rates, in effect shutting out customers from the wrong side of the tracks. It was "not credible and therefore not actuarially sound," said Bob Hunter, director of insurance for the group.
WEAR TV is reporting that Mitsubishi is recalling more than 130,000 cars because of two issues that could lead to reduced visibility for drivers and raise the risk of a crash. According to the station, nearly 77,000 cars are being recalled because the windshield defroster might fail as a result of a faulty blower motor. As NHTSA says in its defect report, "If a driver experiences reduced or complete loss of blower performance, and defrosting of the windshield is required, this may affect driver visibility and increase the risk of a crash". The cars affected include Lancer model years 2009 to 2011, Lancer Sportback model years 2010 to 2011, Lancer Evolution model years 2010 to 2011 and Outlander Sport model year 2011. About 53,400 cars are affected by the other recall. Mitsubishi says head lights, tail lights and windshield wipers may not work because of an unstable electronic control unit. The affected cars include Lancer model years 2009 to 2010, Outlander model years 2009 to 2010, Evolution model year 2010 and Sportback model year 2010. Mitsubishi says it will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected parts for free.
Since the laws governing personal-injury protection were reformed, the number of car accidents staged in Florida so an insurance claim could be filed has fallen by more than half, according to the statistics. The nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau stated they completed a study which reports that PIP claims involving accidents that appear to have been intentionally caused fell from 712 in 2012 to 328 last year. Overall, questionable PIP claims filed in Florida dropped by nearly 8 percent in a year, reported the bureau. Joe Wehrle, the bureau's president told the Sun-Sentinel that his company was encouraged by the decline in questionable claims but they still had a long way to go to stop the staged claims. According to Mr. Wehrle, Florida remains a hotbed for fraudulent activity. The 2012 law requires those involved in vehicle crashes to seek treatment within 14 days and limits non-emergency medical claims to $2,500. The law also established stronger penalties for medical providers who commit PIP fraud, including a five-year license suspension and a 10-year restriction from PIP reimbursement. Two insurance groups here in Florida thinks the study shows the law is helping cut abuse that they claim drive up premium costs. Two insurance groups said Monday that the study shows the law is helping cut abuse that drives up premium costs. Premiums for PIP coverage are projected to drop by an average of 13.2 percent, based upon on a review of 20 insurers that provide coverage for more than 75 percent of the Florida market, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said in January.
Recent events leave parents questioning the safety of their children when getting off and on school buses. According to Jeff Rossen, a reporter for The Today Show, on April 24, a speeding SUV nearly hit several elementary school students as they were about to board a school bus in Graham, Washington. According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Information Services, vehicles pass stopped school buses more than 70,000 times a day, even though passing one with its lights flashing is illegal in all 50 states. The Department of Transportation says that 23 million children ride a school bus every day. Now police are using new technology to catch drivers who threaten their safety by passing stopped school bus.
The Florida Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that I expect will change how school districts handle school sports. Parents of a former high school student who suffered ventricular fibrillation during a soccer game on a school field can now sue the school district for failure to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) on him. This is a change in Florida law since courts had already recognized that Florida law did not require the coaches and other school employees to do so. This reversal of Florida law provides an avenue for this family to sue, but it also exposes Florida public schools to financial liability far greater than they faced yesterday. What this means for the future of youth sports in Florida is anyone's guess.
Distracted driving is a horrible pattern seen on all of America's roadways. In 2013, 3,154 were killed in distracted driving crashes. This represents a 6.7 percent decrease in the number of fatalities recorded in 2012. Unfortunately, approximately 424,000 people were injured, which is an increase from the 421,000 people who were injured in 2012. Thus, it is important to point out that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month and a opportunity to remind motorists of the severity of distracted driving.
Last week we all read bout the tragic accident that occurred down in south Florida. A group of church members (18 occupants) were returning from a weekend Palm Sunday event traveling in a 15 passenger van. According to reports, the van ran through a stop sign early Monday before crossing all lanes of US 27 and continued onto a grassy shoulder, crashing into a steep canal partially filled with water. The driver and seven passengers were confirmed dead. The other 10 passengers were taken to four local hospitals, with three in a serious condition. The injured ranged in age from 4 to 89.
Having knowledge of boat safety is important in our area. It is getting warmer, and as it gets warmer, more people want to start enjoying the Bay and the Gulf. This past Saturday, Northwest Florida Daily News reports that boaters and paddleboarders went to Rocky Bayou on Saturday to support a cause close to their hearts: water safety. There also were canoes, kayaks and other vessels.