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Want to go for a stroll? If you live in Fort Myers, you may want to think twice.crosswalk

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral metro area is the No. 1 most dangerous in the country for people to walk. Nowhere in the nation was the risk of a pedestrian accident higher than Florida. Fort Myers was the worst of all.

The measure used to reach this conclusion is termed the Pedestrian Danger Index, or PDI. This is a measure of how many local commuters walk to work (which gives us the best measure of people likely to be out and walking every day) and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. The national average out of 104 metro areas was 64. By comparison, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers region has a PDI of 283. Continue reading →

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Some people go to the beach fearing only the small chance they’ll encounter a shark close to shore. In fact, there are a number of other more serious hazards on land. boardwalk

That’s what one man found while visiting Myrtle Beach, SC. According to a local news report, the man was staying at a local hotel in August 2014. As he leaned on a railing of a narrow boardwalk leading onto the sand, the railing gave out. The man fell off the walkway and is now suing the City of Myrtle Beach, the entity that owns and maintains the pathways that lead to the beach.

In his premises liability lawsuit, the man alleges the boardwalk was not properly built in the first place, and thereafter was not properly maintained. However, the city is relying on the state’s recreational use statute. Florida has one too. Basically, if a landowner allows their property to be used free of charge for public recreation, the rights of those people to sue the entity or company for negligence are significantly undercut. In fact, the only way to prevail is to assert gross negligence. In this case, it would mean gross negligence in the way the boardwalk was designed, constructed or kept. Plaintiff’s attorneys say they believe their case is strong.  Continue reading →

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The commercial trucking industry in America is facing a severe shortage of drivers. By one figure, we need approximately 48,000 drivers just to move 70 percent of U.S. goods in a timely manner. But it’s not a gig many younger people are fighting over. The hours are grueling. The work is tiring. And time away from family is tough. WINK News and CBS report this has led to companies providing incentives for drivers to stay on-the-job longer than they might otherwise. It also means they are aggressively recruiting retirees. old

CBS looked into the issue, and how the presence of much older drivers in very large trucks poses a risk to all of us on the highways.

The trend first emerged during the economic decline that first hit about 10 years ago. That meant a lot of people were working well past retirement age. However, the rules of the road have become more stringent, with greater safety in mind. But there are still no additional requirements for older drivers, as there is for those with standard licenses. Yet we are seeing a growing number of trucking accidents across the country that involve elderly truckers.  Continue reading →

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The number of traffic deaths in Lee County soared higher than at any point in a decade – and more than 10 percent in just a single year. airbag

That’s according to the latest report from The New-Press, which as of Jan. 1st still only had numbers through early December 2016. There were more than 100 deaths by that time, which is the first time they went over that mark since 2007. And actually, the early 2016 figure was slightly higher – 109 compared to the 106 counted in 2007. There were 121 in 2006 and 150 in 2005. But the numbers had been steady falling the last ten years. The number of Lee County roadway deaths dipped to the lowest point in 2012, when there were 64 who lost their lives on our roadways.

These figures fail to take into account the hundreds of more people who were seriously injured – sometimes permanently – as a result of careless drivers in Southwest Florida. Statewide, the news agency reported there were 3,161 traffic deaths as of Dec. 30th. That marked an increase of 222 over the previous year – and didn’t include figures from the notoriously perilous New Year’s Eve.  Continue reading →

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The majority of Fort Myers car accidents are the direct result of human error. Someone wasn’t paying attention. Someone was too sleepy. Someone was speeding or drunk or misjudged how much time they had before a light. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking to improve safety by mandating in-vehicle technology systems that will allow vehicles to communicate directly with other vehicles and certain infrastructure to counteract the danger caused by human mistakes.driver

It’s called vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication (also sometimes referred to as Connected Vehicle Technology), and the goal would be to require cars, trucks, buses and trains to communicate key safety and mobility information with each other. Creators say it could prevent serious and fatal crashes, reduce congestion and delays and help lower the carbon footprint of the millions of vehicles in motion in the U.S. every day. Considering that car accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for people ages 4 and 11 through 27 (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), this is feature that has the ability to make a huge impact on people’s lives.

Last month, the agency proposed a rule that would require V2V communication on all new light vehicles, allowing them to “talk” to each other and help drive down the number of serious crashes. The agency, in explaining how V2V works, noted that connected vehicles may well transform the way Americans travel. The systems would be connected via short-range communications technology, similar to WiFi. It would be fast, secure and reliable. In addition to vehicles, infrastructure like traffic lights, toll booths and school and work zones would be able to tap into this network to communicate information. Essentially, it will give drivers a 360-degree awareness of what’s happening in situations they can’t possibly see with their own eyes at any given moment.  Continue reading →

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With the goal of reducing the serious risk posed by distracted drivers toying with their cell phones, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed voluntary guidelines to manufacturers of phones and software. One of the key measurements involves a the creation of a “Driver Mode,” akin to the “Airplane Mode,” which shuts off wireless communication that might interfere with modern aircraft systems. In the same way, this “driver mode” would block or modify certain cell phone apps so that a motorist’s attention could stay on the road. phone

These voluntary guidelines were introduced amid news that traffic deaths over the last two years have increased sharply. Yes, part of that is due to falling gas prices and an improved economy, which has more people on the road. However, cell phone distraction is believed to be a substantial part of the problem. If drivers can’t be trusted to put the phones down on their own, then technology companies may need to step in and do it for them – not just for their own sake, but for the safety of those with whom they share the road.

The guidelines call on manufacturers of electronics, such as Samsung and Apple, to alter future operating systems in a way that curtails functionality and simplifies interfaces while the device is inside a vehicle that is moving. There are also requests to develop technology that would be able to determine when devices are being used by a motorist who is driving, while still allowing others who are in the vehicle full access to those features.  Continue reading →

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The number of traffic fatalities in Lee County topped 100 for the first time since 2007, according to a report late last month from The News-Press. As of the third week of December, there were 102 traffic fatalities in 2016 – more than it’s been in a decade. That figure does not account for the fatalities that occurred the last week of December, including over the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays. driving

These figures mirror those we saw more than 10 years ago when the region saw explosive population growth. In 2007, there were 106. In 2006, there were 121. The number of traffic deaths peaked in 2005 with 150. In more recent years, the number of Lee County traffic deaths didn’t surpass 100. Now, it seems that is changing, which is in line with the increases reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency reports there was a 7.2 percent increase in traffic deaths in 2015  – resulting in 2,348 additional lives lost that year. Early figures from 2016 suggest a further upward trend.

The more than 100 traffic fatalities in Lee County last year included cars, trucks, school buses, bicycles, pedestrians and motorcycles. In one instance, a child wasn’t properly buckled in. In another case, a young man was waiting at a red light on his way home from school. Numerous drivers weren’t paying attention. Others were impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.  Continue reading →

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Technically speaking, New Year’s Eve isn’t the worst when it comes to drunk driving. But after the clock strikes midnight – watch out. newyearseve

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that half of all deadly car accidents on New Year’s Day involve a motorist who was deemed drunk, which usually means having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. The deadliest day of the year on our roads varies from year-to-year, but New Year’s Day is almost always in the top three. Research by the National Safety Council revealed that during the New Year’s holiday season in a recent five-year span, about 42 percent of traffic deaths were related to drunk driving. These figures include pedestrians who are struck by vehicles too. The fact that the holiday this year falls on a weekend could mean we’ll see even higher rates of personal injury and death on the roads.

For drunk driving accident victims, there may be several avenues of recovering compensation, depending on the circumstances.  Continue reading →

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The widow of a man who died in a fire while in the care of a county-owned nursing home in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the facility and staffers. The man, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and numerous other ailments, was reportedly engulfed in flames after dropping his lit cigarette on his clothing.cigarette

The nursing home negligence lawsuit alleges the facility violated federal nursing home regulations by allowing him to smoke unsupervised, despite the fact that he needed help with many basic tasks. He required assistance to eat, bathe, dress, brush his teeth and more. Yet somehow, he was entrusted to use an open flame without supervision, jeopardizing not only his safety but also that of other patients and staffers at the facility.

This is the kind of judgment lapse that families may want to be on alert for when going to visit loved ones in nursing homes this holiday season. It may seem like a simple oversight, but the fact is, it could quickly end in tragedy. Continue reading →

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For many people, celebrations on New Year’s Eve are among the most highly-anticipated. There is usually exceptional food, copious drink and great company.party

But there is good reason our brave first responders and hospital emergency workers brace for the holiday every year. In the midst of all these parties, there is a spike in serious injuries and illnesses directly related to the revelry. A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine analyzed some 60 million hospital death certificates over a 25-year stretch. What they found was that, on average, 42,325 more people than expected died during the two weeks between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with New Year’s Day having the highest fatality rate of any day of the year.

These reported incidents weren’t solely due to drunken driving accidents, but those certainly didn’t help. Even when people suffered from health-related ailments, authors speculated the death rates were higher during this time because people delayed seeking treatment due to the holidays. Continue reading →