Last year in Florida, 120 bicyclists were fatally injured in traffic accidents. March has been declared “Bike Month” in Florida so it seems fitting to blog about Florida’s extremely high rate of fatal bicycle accidents. Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for cyclists. The publication News Press has published a series entitled “Paths to Peril” and in it, they describe the people who lost their lives in Florida bicycle accidents. The report analyzed five years of data on 1,400 Lee and Collier County bicycle accidents. Lee County came in third highest in the state for the highest number of bicycle accidents in 2014. There were eight bicycle accident fatalities in Lee County in 2014. In 2014, four people died in bicycle accidents in the entire state if Iowa! Continue Reading
With all the new advanced technology for motor vehicles, car accident fatalities are decreasing. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said regarding motorcycle accident fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), motorcycle accident fatalities doubled between 1998 and 2008. Motorcycle accident injuries can often be catastrophic. A Sarasota or Bradenton motorcycle accident can potentially lead to:
Life-altering injuries: Motorcycle riders have little chance against the size and force of cars and trucks, and many times riders are ejected from their motorcycles and thrown for quite a distance. Burn injuries are also quite common in motorcycle accidents because the fuel tank is exposed. Spinal cord and brain injuries often result from these types of accidents and can lead to permanent injury. Continue Reading
The fatality rate for Florida bicyclists is three times the national average. In Florida in 2012, 120 cyclists were fatally injured in traffic accidents. Florida’s roads are extremely dangerous and they were not designed for cyclists or pedestrians. A recent report from News Press addressed some misconceptions people have about bicycle accidents. Following are some facts regarding Florida bicycle accidents:
The average age of an at-fault driver in an auto/bicycle accident is early 20’s or mid 40’s.
In most fatal auto/bicycle accidents, it was the motor vehicle driver, not the cyclist who was at-fault.
The vehicles most often involved in an auto/bicycle accident were compact cars.
Factors Contributing to Florida Bicycle Accidents:
Population: Florida’s population has swollen from 3 million in 1950 to over 19 million today.
Weather: Bicyclists and pedestrians can be found traveling in Florida year round.
Driver Behavior: Aggressive and distracted drivers are prevalent on Florida’s roads.
Tourism: More than 80 million people visited Florida in 2010. Continue Reading
The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 requires freight carriers to have minimum insurance coverage limits of $750,000. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has not updated these requirements in over 30 years. There has been pressure recently to raise the insurance requirements to $4.6 million. Almost 4,000 people were fatally injured in large truck accidents in 2012. Tens of thousands more were injured. Many victims of large truck accidents sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s). Treatment for a TBI can cost more than $8,000 per day! The insurance limits that may have been sufficient in the 1980’s are not sufficient today and must be increased. A report from the FMCSA that was issued to Congress in April, 2014 stated the following:
“Current insurance limits do not adequately cover catastrophic crashes due, in part, to the significant increases in medical costs associated with injury since the current minimum insurance levels were set in 1985.”
“The costs for severe and critical injury crashes can easily exceed $1 million.”
Many truck accidents involve multiple vehicles and/or multiple victims which leaves many truck accident victims with little or no recovery. Medical expenses have skyrocketed since the 1980’s. An increase in insurance limits would also increase safety as insurance companies insuring trucks for $4.6 million would be less likely to cut corners in order to protect their bottom line. Safety shortcuts in the trucking industry cause hundreds of trucking accidents every year.
Parents Against Tired Truckers:
Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways are part of the Traffic Safety Coalition and they give the following reasons for their position on raising insurance limits for trucks:
“Minimum levels of insurance for trucks have not been increased in over 30 years and are woefully insufficient.”
“Consequently a large portion of the damages caused by motor carriers at or near the minimum is imposed upon the American public.”
“The underinsured segments of the industry are effectively subsidized by American taxpayers through unreimbursed social welfare programs including Medicaid and Social Security.”
“If all of the industry were required to absorb more of the losses they cause, significant changes in the industry would occur, resulting in safer highways for all.”
Since 1980, all expenses related to trucking accidents have increased. In addition, trailers have been allowed to expand to 53 feet in length. Truck weight has also increased. We have accepted death and catastrophic injury as the cost of doing business and that cost has been shifted to the public and the American taxpayer.
Truck Accident Attorneys in Sarasota and Bradenton Florida:
If you have been injured by a negligent truck driver, please contact the truck accident attorneys at Michael L. Morgan Law Group, P.A., at (941) 953-4555. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no cost to you unless we recover on your behalf. We will work to obtain the best possible compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, future medical bills, future loss of income and pain and suffering. Please call us to schedule a free consultation.
National Geographic author Robert Reid has compiled a list of the worst highways in the United States and two of the three worst highways run through the Sunshine State. Interstate 4 (called the “Haunted Highway”) and I-95 (“a rarely scenic and frequently traffic-choked road”). Following is the list of the top ten:
- I-95 (Florida)
- I-76 (New Jersey)
- I-4 (Florida)
- I-15 (California)
- I-10 (California)
- I-59 (Louisiana)
- I-94 (Illinois)
- I-93 (Massachusetts)
- I-95 (Delaware)
- I-55 (Tennessee)
Every motor vehicle driver has a certain responsibility when involved in a traffic accident. If the accident involves any injury, an uninjured driver should alert emergency services immediately. If the accident is severe and there are injured victims, the police must be alerted. All parties involved in an accident must exchange contact information and automobile insurance information. If someone causes an accident and flees the scene, this is referred to as a “hit and run” accident. In Florida, a driver has a duty to offer assistance to an injured accident victim and report the accident to the police. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident can be sued for punitive damages in addition to monetary damages. Punitive damages may be available to an injured Plaintiff when the Defendant recklessly or intentionally causes harm or acts in an egregious manner. Punitive damages are a way to punish bad behavior or conduct. Even if the accident was unintentional, leaving the scene of an accident can be viewed as an intentional act and one that justifies punitive damages. If the hit and run accident results in injury or death, it is considered a felony. If there is only minimal property damage, the offender will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. Continue Reading
Florida motorcycle riders over the age of 21 are not legally required to wear helmets. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, nearly one-third of all motorcycle accident fatalities involve traumatic brain injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets are about 37% effective at preventing TBI’s for motorcycle riders and 41% effective at preventing TBI’s for motorcycle passengers. TBI’s can vary greatly in their severity. Mild TBI’s include concussions while severe TBI’s can leave an injured accident victim permanently impaired. Whether you wear a helmet or not, if you are injured in a Sarasota or Bradenton motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Continue Reading
A thirteen year old boy sustained serious injuries after being struck by a Nissan Rogue on Route 70 in Bradenton on March 4, 2015. The boy is being treated for his injuries at All Children’s Hospital. The driver of the Nissan Rogue, a 62 year old Bradenton woman has not been charged. Pedestrian accidents happen way too often on Sarasota and Bradenton’s busy streets. Sometimes, the accident is the result of driver negligence or inattention. Other times, the accident is the pedestrian’s fault. A driver of any vehicle in Florida has a duty to watch for pedestrians. Florida Statutes § 316.130(15) states that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid collision with any pedestrian or human powered vehicle and must give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing a child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.” Continue Reading
One woman was fatally injured on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 when a tractor trailer failed to stop on the Peace River Bridge in Sarasota County, causing a nine vehicle chain reaction accident. The tractor trailer driver failed to notice traffic stopping and slammed into the back of a Chevy Equinox fatally injuring Patricia Isenhower of Lebanon, Indiana. Seven other vehicles were involved in the accident and most of the occupants suffered only minor injuries. Continue Reading
The recent tragic death of “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon has brought to light the issue of backseat safety regarding motor vehicle accidents. The reporter was traveling in a Livery cab and was not wearing seatbelt. As a backseat passenger in a cab in New York City, Simon was not legally required to wear a seatbelt. Much attention has been given to the affects of motor vehicle accidents on front seat occupants and the front passenger seat was once referred to as the “death seat.” New technologies, especially front and side curtain airbags, have significantly decreased the risk of injuries to front seat passengers.
Why are Backseat Passengers at Risk?
Many people who buckle up in front are less likely to buckle up in backseats.
Although children are safer in back seats, the same does not always hold true for adults. Women over 55 have an increased risk of head and neck injuries as restrained backseat passengers in motor vehicle accidents.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only 70% of backseat passengers ages 20 to 54 wear seatbelts compared to 90% of front seat passengers. Many people have been led to believe that the backseat is safer than the front seat.
Crash impacts are usually stronger in the front of a vehicle and while front seat drivers and passengers often sustain serious injuries, unrestrained backseat passengers are actually more likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries occur to backseat passengers when they hit their heads on the side windows or the seat in front of them.
Backseat passengers who wear seatbelts can risk orthopedic injuries such as fractured ribs or collarbones.
The risk of a fatal injury in a newer vehicle is higher for backseat passengers than it is for drivers. This is mainly due to the fact that new innovative technology has been geared towards drivers and front seat passengers.
Restraints Do Save Lives:
According to the IIHS, backseat passengers who use shoulder belts reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 50%. For backseat passengers in Vans and SUV’s who use shoulder belts, the risk drops by 70%.
The NHTSA believes that all states should require all occupants to wear seatbelts regardless of their seating position. In 2012, the New York Daily News reported that taxicab passengers who didn’t wear seatbelts were frequently showing up in emergency rooms with injuries sustained when they hit the plastic divider separating taxi drivers and passengers.
Sarasota and Bradenton Auto Accident Attorney:
If you have been injured in a Sarasota or Bradenton motor vehicle accident, please contact Michael L. Morgan Law Group, P.A. at (941) 953-4555 to schedule a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee unless we recover on your behalf.