October 25, 2011

Parents Urged to Watch Over Little Ones to Help Prevent Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Myers

As we recently reported on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, a 15-year-old female pedestrian was killed as she and two of her friends attempted to cross Pondella Road in Cape Coral. Luckily, two of the teens made it across the street safely. One wasn't so fortunate.
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We continue to discuss the importance of pedestrian safety along Lee and Collier County roadways. Pedestrian accidents in Naples and elsewhere are all too common, but they are entirely preventable. Children and teens are often the most at risk pedestrians along our roadways because they're unable to comprehend the maneuvers, functions and dangers of passing traffic. These statistics can be reversed! Parents are urged to talk with the children and teens in their life about safe habits to exercise when walking near vehicular traffic to help avoid a potentially fatal accident.

Our Fort Myers pedestrian accident attorneys understand pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Florida. According to recent statistics, there was a near 5 percent increase in the number of these accidents across the state from 2009 to 2010. Florida continues to be ranked as number one for having the most pedestrian accidents and the highest death rate in the country. Parents are urged to discuss the importance of safe walking and biking habits, especially with the 2011-2012 school year in full swing.

Parents should share the following tips with their young pedestrians:

-All children under the age of 10 should be accompanied by an adult when walking near traffic.

-Everyone should use a crosswalk or a street corner when crossing the road.

-Be sure to look both ways before and during your trek across the road.

-Wear brightly-colored clothing to help ensure that motorists see you.

-Always walk on a sidewalk when one is available. When there are no sidewalks, walk as far from traffic as possible and walk facing oncoming traffic.

-Limit nighttime walking, but when it's necessary make sure to wear reflectors or carry a flashlight.

-Never dart out from behind a parked car. Passing motorists may not be able to see you.

-Always make eye contact with a driver before crossing in front of them.

-Never walk alone. Use the buddy system.

According to Transportation for America, there have been more than 5,150 pedestrians killed in Florida from 2000 to 2009. These accidents cost the state more than $22 billion. Because Florida has a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 182.8, our state was ranked again as the most dangerous state for pedestrians in the United States.

Most Dangerous Metro Areas from 2000 to 2009 and the number of pedestrian fatalities witnessed:

-Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach: 1555.

-Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: 905.

-Orlando-Kissimmee: 557.

Jacksonville: 342.

-Cape Coral-Fort Myers: 178.

From 2000 to 2007, there were nearly 300 children under the age of 16 who died in pedestrian accidents in the state of Florida. These accidents are all too frequent and can be prevented with education. Parents, educators and guardians are urged to speak with little ones about the dangers they face when walking near vehicular traffic.

Continue reading "Parents Urged to Watch Over Little Ones to Help Prevent Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Myers" »

October 24, 2011

Our Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Wish You a Safe and Happy Halloween!

You child is four times as likely to be involved in a car-pedestrian accident in Cape Coral on Halloween night than during any other night of the year, according to ABC7.

Our Cape Coral child injury attorneys would also like to warn parents about other Halloween-related injuries that your child could experience on the 31st. Eye trauma from sharp costume accessories and burns from flammable costumes are also a common injury we see every year on Halloween. We are here to provide you with some quick and simple safety tips to help keep you and the whole family safe this Halloween.
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"Children should be out having fun and spending time with family and friends. They should not have to spend Halloween in the ER because of some injury that could have been easily prevented," Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 40 million kids age 5- to 14-years old will be out this year roaming from door to door in search of sugary goods.

To help reduce any risks of Halloween-related accidents, parents are urged to follow these safety tips from the Lee County Sheriff's Office:

-Young children should never be sent out alone. Always accompany these young ghosts and goblins on their trick-or-treating adventures.

-Never go inside a stranger's house or car. Accept all candy at the door.

-The bigger the trick-or-treating group the better.

-Plan out your trick-or-treating route beforehand to help you to pick the safest route possible. Pick a route with safe sidewalks, minimal vehicular traffic and safe road crossings.

-Stay within your own neighborhood.

-Never approach a house that doesn't have their lights on. Only trick-or-treat at houses that are well-lit.

-Always adhere reflective tape to your costume or carry as flashlight to help ensure that motorists see you.

-Consider using makeup instead of a face mask. Masks obstruct your line of vision.

-Wear light-colored costumes and clothing to make you more visible to motorists.

-Don't cut across people's lawns. Be respectful of everyone's property.

-Parents should examine all treats before allowing children to consume them. Throw out any candies that have been opened or have been tampered with.

-Never accept any treat that has not been commercially wrapped.

-Start your trick-or-treating adventure and end early. The later it gets, the higher your risks are for a traffic-related accident.

-Always use sidewalks when available and walk facing oncoming traffic.

-Walk, never run.

-Never run out from behind a parked car. Passing vehicles may not have enough time to respond.

Parents are also urged to check out the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Sexual Offender and Predator database to help you to better plan out your trick-or-treating route.

Lastly, we would like to ask that all motorists be extra careful on the 31st. Little monsters and mummies will be combing residential areas around the county in search of yummy snacks. Be cautious of these young ones. This holiday should be safe and injury-free and it can be with the proper safety precautions. We want everyone to have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Continue reading "Our Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Wish You a Safe and Happy Halloween!" »

October 22, 2011

FMPD Supports National Teen Driver Safety Week to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Fort Myers

According to the Fort Myers Police Department, National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) is being held this year from October 16th through the 22nd. During this time, officials, safe driving advocates and local law enforcement agencies will be campaigning to raise awareness about the dangers our teen drivers face on our roadways. Car accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere continue to be the number one killer for teens in the country.
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This week-long campaign was established by Congress back in 2007 and has been held every year on the third week of October. This year, parents are asked to continue the teaching process with their teen driver. According to recent studies, parents who frequently speak with their teen about safe driving habits and those who enact driving rules within the family have fewer risks for an accident than teens who are let loose on our roadways without guidance.

Our Naples teen car accident attorneys would like to focus in on a recently released study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This study examined the driving habits of teen drivers by installing cameras into the cars of teen drivers in North Carolina. The goal of the study was to determine what it is that causes our teen drivers to be at such high risks for car accidents.

According to the study, teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident during their first 30 days of unrestricted driving than they are during their first year of unrestricted driving. These risks continue to decrease as they gain more experience behind the wheel.

Researchers were able to credit nearly 70 percent of the accidents to three common driving mistakes, including speeding, failing to yield and driver inattention. Data proved that these accidents most often happened when drivers were making left-hand turns. Another finding of the study confirmed that teen accident risks decrease with experience behind the wheel.

“What our new study tells us is that there are a few specific abilities that we could do a better job of helping teens develop before they begin driving independently,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger.

Cameras also revealed another interesting characteristic; the change in driver behavior once they were driving without supervision. During unsupervised and unrestricted driving time, teens were more likely to engage in dangerous driving habits behind the wheel, including texting, making phone calls and engaging in activities with other passengers.

Tips for parents of teen drivers, from the National Safety Council:

-Set a curfew. Teen driver's risks of experiencing an accident increase as the sun goes down. Consider a driving curfew.

-Limit passengers. Passengers, especially teenage ones, can be some of the most dangerous distractions for drivers. The more passengers in a vehicle, the higher the risks are for an accident.

-Ban cell phone use. Because Florida has no laws governing the use of cell phones or text messaging devices for drivers, parents are asked to regulate these behaviors among their teen drivers.

-Require seat belts. Seat belts have been proven as the most effective way to save a life in the event of an accident. Make sure everyone wears one during every car ride.

Continue reading "FMPD Supports National Teen Driver Safety Week to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Fort Myers" »

October 21, 2011

DHSMV Continues Fight against Teen Car Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere with White Out 2011

Car accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere are the number one killer of teens in the state of Florida and in the U.S. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has recently teamed up with schools throughout the state to host a number White Out events.

These events are held to raise awareness about the dangers that teen's oftentimes face in the driver's seat. During White Out, teens, schools employees, parents and other safe driving advocates were asked to wear white t-shirts to help to raise awareness. In addition to White Out, the DHSMV is participating in National Teen Driver Safety Week. We recently told you about this week-long campaign and its efforts to keep teen drivers safe on our roadways. The week-long event takes place this year from October 16th through the 22nd.
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“Today’s white out is a good reminder that driving is a big responsibility and that parents and guardians play a key role in teaching their children safe driving behaviors that impact how they drive for their entire lives,” said DHSMV Executive Director Julie Jones.

Our Cape Coral car accident attorneys understand that with increased parental support and education among teen drivers, we can all do our part to help save the lives of these inexperienced drivers on our roadways. We lose far too many young drivers every year in Florida. More supervised driving time and more discussion about safe driving habits may be able to do the trick and turn these accident statistics around for our newly-licensed drivers.

According to the 2010 Florida traffic accident statistics:

-Teens age 15- to 19-years-old have the highest accident rate of any age group in the state.

-There were nearly 734,000 licensed teen drivers.

-Nearly 27,000 teen drivers were involved in traffic accidents in 2009.

-Nearly 150 teens (drivers and passengers) who died on our roadways.

-Nearly 19,000 teens (drivers and passengers) were injured in traffic accidents.

-Teen drivers in Florida are twice as likely to be involved in an accident as their parents and about three times as likely as their grandparents.

To help educate our state's young drivers, the DHSMV recently launched an interactive teen driver website to help the newly-licensed to learn safe driving habits. Drive with CARE (Courtesy, Attention, Responsibility, Experience), another online resource for teen drivers, is here to help teach parents and young drivers about our state's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law. The website also reiterates the importance of parent involvement in a teen driver's learning process. The CARE information is available on the website or at state and tax collector operated driver license offices.

Recent studies reveal that teens who have more supervised driving time with parents and guardians face lower risks of accidents on our roadways. Teaching your teen driver safe and cautious driving habits early on in their driving career can help them to form lifelong habits that can help to keep them safe on our roadways. Parents are urged to visit the websites listed above and to participate in National Teen Driver Safety Week to help raise awareness about the importance of proper teen driving education.

Continue reading "DHSMV Continues Fight against Teen Car Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere with White Out 2011" »

October 19, 2011

FHP Joins Operation Safe Driver to Reduce Risks of Fatal Car Accidents in Southwest Florida and Elsewhere

Florida Highway Patrol has announced that it will be participating in Operation Safe Driver, which takes place from October 16th to October 22nd, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. According to director of the Florida Highway Patrol, Col. David Brierton, this time will be used to target drivers of passenger buses and commercial trucks to make sure that each large vehicle and driver is abiding by all federal safety regulations to help prevent fatal trucking accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere throughout the state.
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This year's campaign is being organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It's estimated that nearly 90 percent of fatal accidents that involve a large truck or a passenger bus are caused by driver error.

Our Fort Myers accident attorneys understand how dangerous traffic accidents can be when a large truck or passenger bus is involved. To help reduce the risks of these accidents the Florida Highway Patrol will be using this campaign to focus on the poor decisions made by the drivers of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. This enforcement effort comes after a string of serious bus and truck accidents through the state and the country.

“Activities such as Operation Safe Driver have had a noticeable effect,” said Brierton. “The number of commercial vehicle related crashes in Florida is at its lowest since 2001.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 3,500 fatalities and nearly 75,000 people injured because of traffic accidents that involved a large truck in 2009. Many of these accidents were the result of driver's poor habits behind the wheel. It is these types of drivers that the Florida Highway Patrol is targeting. There's are a lot to target too, considering there were nearly 300,000 large trucks involved in accidents in the U.S. during that time period. Florida witnessed nearly 200 fatal accidents with the involvement of a large truck in 2009.

Safe driving tips from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

-Make sure you're buckled up every time you drive.

-Make sure that your vehicle's headrest is adjusted to sit behind your head. It should not be placed behind your neck. This is to help minimize whiplash in the event of an accident.

-Never put more people in the vehicle than there are seat belts.

-Make sure the vehicle's tires are in good condition and are properly inflated.

-Always keep the vehicle's windshield clean.

-Never drive while you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

-Make sure you know where you're going before you start your trip.

-Plan your trip around road construction areas.

-Obey all speed limits, lights and traffic signs.

-Always use turn signals so that other motorists know your intended maneuvers.

-Look out for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other smaller vehicles on the roadway.

-Keep the music down. Loud music could prevent you from hearing the horn of another vehicle.

-Refrain from using cell phones or text messaging devices. These devices can take your attention off of the roadway and severely increase you risks for an accident.

-Consider weather conditions and adjust your driving habits accordingly.

-Lookout for potholes and other shoddy road conditions.

-Be courteous of other drivers at all times.

Continue reading "FHP Joins Operation Safe Driver to Reduce Risks of Fatal Car Accidents in Southwest Florida and Elsewhere" »

October 18, 2011

Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Cape Coral Kills 15-Year-Old Girl

A recent pedestrian accident in Cape Coral took the life of a 15-year-old girl. Taylor Palmer and two friends were crossing Pondella Road just before 8:00 a.m. The young girl was transported to Cape Coral Hospital and died just a few hours later, according to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze.

According to officer's accident reports, the three young girls were crossing from the north side of Pondella to the south side. The motorists stated that the three girls just "suddenly appeared."
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Our Cape Coral pedestrian accident attorneys understand that young pedestrians face serious risks for traffic-related accidents on our roadways. As we recently reported on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, the number of pedestrian fatalities on Florida roadways rose nearly 4 percent from 2009 to 2010. Our state is still listed as the most dangerous state in the country for these types of accidents. As the school year gets underway, motorists are urged to keep a watchful eye out for young pedestrians heading to and from school. Many of these young walkers are unable to understand the functions and the risks associated with traffic flow. For this reason, we are asking that all motorists be extremely careful when traveling near school zones, residential neighborhoods or near school start and end times.

Of the three girls crossing Pondella, two were able to make it out of the way in time. Unfortunately, the third was not. She was struck by the front of the vehicle and way tossed onto the car's hood and windshield.

"The traffic homicide investigation continues," said Lt. Larry King, spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Officers do not believe that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or any type of drugs at the time of the incident. The names of the two other girls were not released after the accident.

In 2008, there were nearly 500 pedestrian fatalities in the state of Florida. During this time more than 11 percent of pedestrian fatalities and more than 17 percent of bicyclists that died in the U.S. died on Florida roadways. This statistic is even more alarming when you consider that the state only holds about 6 percent of the entire country's population.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children between the ages of 5- and 9-years-old accounted for about 20 percent of all of the pedestrians who were killed in traffic-related accidents in 2009. Children under the age of 16 accounted for nearly 10 percent of the pedestrian fatalities that occurred during this same time.

Requirements of pedestrians and nearby drivers, according to the Florida Department of Transportation:

-Where sidewalks are provided, no pedestrian shall walk on any part of the roadway.

-Where there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should only walk on the shoulder of the left-hand side of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.

-No one should ride any coaster, toy vehicle or ride on skates on the roadway unless crossing the street using a crosswalk.

Continue reading "Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Cape Coral Kills 15-Year-Old Girl" »

October 17, 2011

Officials Looking into Banning Sign Shakers to Help Prevent Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Cape Coral

A recent car accident in North Naples landed a 27-year-old driver in jail on a $500,000 bail after allegedly hitting and killing a roadside sign holder and then fleeing the scene, according to Marco News.

In addition to the charge of failing to remain at the scene of a fatal crash, the man has also received a charge of DUI causing death. He denies the charges. The accident happened at Shirley Street and Pine Ridge Road. The sign holder was employed through a nearby restaurant.
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The driver in the accident is employed with a local flooring company. The sign holder was a resident of Naples for 14 years. Florida Highway Patrol officers were able to stop and apprehend the driver later on after a witness of the accident followed the man's vehicle and notified officers. The hit-and-run driver was in a Porsche Cayenne. When officers were questioning the man, he told them that he had hit a stop sign and not a person.

Our Charlotte County car accident attorneys understand the incident has the Cape looking to consider placing a ban on all roadway sign holders. These individuals are being accused of being distractions to drivers and increasing the risks of accidents in areas flooded with these advertisers.

Sign-shaking has become a popular form of advertisement in the Southwest Florida area. If there are businesses around, you're sure to find someone shaking a sign. They may soon disappear from the City of Cape Coral though as officials are worried about roadway safety.

Brian Clemens, a Cape Coral resident, is thankful for his sign-shaking job. He lost his job and picked this one up to help put food on the table. He works for about four hours a day for about 5 days a week, shaking his sign on the corner of Del Prado Boulevard and Hancock Bridge Parkway. He spends his time trying to turn drivers into customers, according to NBC2.

"Try and get their attention," Clemens said.

That phrase is what scares officials. Drivers are taking their attention off of the roadway and focusing on these signs. There are sign shakers on nearly every major roadway in the Cape.

Danny Castellanos is another Cape resident who lists his job title as a sign shaker. He tries to lure customers into the "We Buy Gold" store. He spends eight hours a day, six days a week, fighting for the attention of drivers.

If the Community Redevelopment Agency gets its way, these shakers could soon be out of a job.

"You hate to take a job from anybody but you don't want to put them in harm's way," said John Jacobsen, CRA Executive Director.

The Cash for Gold store could have to potentially get rid of 25 employees if the ban goes into effect. Many of the companies say that they wouldn't be able to survive without this form of advertising as it's the most some can afford nowadays.

The only problem with this ban is that sign carrying is a First Amendment right, so there may only be so much that the city can do to stop the distracting ads.

Continue reading "Officials Looking into Banning Sign Shakers to Help Prevent Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Cape Coral" »

October 8, 2011

'Heads-Up Driving Week' Comes to Florida to Help Prevent Car Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere

Distracted driving-related car accidents in Fort Myers are a hot topic among residents, law enforcement and government officials in our area. There's even a Stop Distracted Driving Facebook page for the city of Fort Myers. Even with all of this awareness about this dangerous driving behavior, we still see about a third of all drivers engaged in distracting diversions.
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To help to promote awareness about these dangers, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety launched the third-annual "Heads-Up Driving Week." Our Naples car accident attorneys would like to ask all residents to join the week-long event from October 2nd through the 8th and make the pledge to curb all distractions while operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving-related car accidents took the lives of roughly 5,500 people in 2009. All of these roadway deaths could have been prevented with better driver attention.

It's no secret that we all have a lot to do and that multi-tasking is a regular activity. But what's most important is the need to focus on driving while on our roadways. Every single day, there are roughly 8,000 traffic accidents in the United States alone because of distracted drivers.

Distracted driving facts:

-Drivers typically spend more than half of their time behind the wheel engaging in distractions while also navigating our roadways.

-There were more than one million people killed in car accidents over the last 25 years in the country. Roughly 33,750 people were killed in 2010 alone. Experts blame the increase on the advancements in technology and in driver distractions.

-Using a cell phone while driving makes you more than four times more likely to experience a serious crash.

-Common driver distractions include smoking, listening to music too loudly, eating, slowing down to look at traffic accident scenes, making phone calls, text messaging and interacting with passengers.

-Passenger-related distractions were reported as the number one contributor to distraction-related accidents on our roadways.

According to AAA's Traffic Safety Culture Index, nearly 95 percent of surveyed drivers said that they view emailing and texting behind the wheel as a driving behavior that is completely unacceptable. Nearly 90 percent of these same drivers reported that they completely support laws aimed to regulate or to completely ban the behavior. Still, about a third of them report that they've engaged in this driving behavior at least once within the last month.

This is the "do as I say, not as I do" complex, a common behavior of some drivers. We want drivers to practice safer habits on our roadways but refuse to make the changes within ourselves first. We ask that Florida drivers give this week-long pledge a try. You might just enjoy distraction-free driving, and will be able to truly feel the safety of alert driving habits. Urge your friends, family and coworkers to take the pledge with you.

Continue reading "'Heads-Up Driving Week' Comes to Florida to Help Prevent Car Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere" »

October 7, 2011

Car Accidents in Florida Rank as Number One Cause for Work-Related Fatalities

Car accidents in Florida were the number one cause of death for on-the-job fatalities in both 2009 and 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2010, Florida experienced more than 200 work fatalities, nearly half of which were caused by work-related traffic accidents. To help combat this problem, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) joined forces with the U.S. Department of Transportation for another Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW). This year's campaign has been titled “Focus 360°: Getting there safely is everyone’s business.” This year's event is ongoing this week, from October 3rd to the 7th.
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Our car accident attorneys in Fort Myers, Naples and Port Charlotte understand that distracted driving-related car accidents have been a popular topic of conversation in the state recently. Distracted driving affects everyone on our roadways. As motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the top cause of death for work-related fatalities, these two organizations continue to push for cell phone-free work places. No phone call or text message is worth risking someone's life on our roadways.

This campaign affects everyone on our roadways, whether you're a passenger, a driver or a cyclist. There is something that we can all do to make travel safer. We ask you to practice safe and distraction-free driving habits to help set a good example for your loved ones, other motorists and your coworkers.

In Florida, transportation accidents took more lives of employees in 2010 than falls, fires, explosions, assaults, violent acts or any other type of work-related accident.

"Employers have the potential to reach up to one-half of the nation's population, and their support in our fight to stop distracted driving is crucial." Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

For this year's campaign, organizers are suggesting the following:

-Consider creating and enforcing a cell phone policy for your company to help reduce the risks of these types of accidents.

-For employers who already have a policy, consider sharing tips and creating activities to help enforce the current policy.

-Employers who are not interested in creating a cell phone policy are still urged to talk with employees about the risks, the dangers and the consequences of distracted driving.

Distractions have the ability to take a driver's attention off our roadways and to increase everyone's risk for a motor-vehicle accident. In 2010, these types of accidents killed roughly 5,500 people on U.S. roadways. Nearly 500,000 others were injured in these accidents. Drivers who use a cell phone behind the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in a serious traffic accident. Recent statistics conclude that about a fourth of all accidents were caused by a distracted driver.

During the 2010 campaign, there were approximately 5,000 participating organizations. Of those who participated, nearly 90 percent now have some type of corporate cell phone policy We encourage you to join this year!

Continue reading "Car Accidents in Florida Rank as Number One Cause for Work-Related Fatalities" »

October 3, 2011

Lee County Proudly Supports International Walk to School Day to Raise Awareness about Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Myers

October 5th is International Walk to School Day and many schools in the area are joining the festivities to help raise awareness about child pedestrian accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere.

This event started back in 1997 when the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago. When the walk was first started, it was used as a way to bring together children with local leaders in an effort to raise awareness about the need to more pedestrian-friendly streets.
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As the event progressed year by year, so did its popularity. In 2002, the highest record of participation was tallied at roughly 3 million. This year, schools and leaders in every state have held events to help push the campaign.

Our Fort Myers child injury attorneys hope that you and your family will participate in this year's event. This event is also used to help rally for federal funding to make our roadways safer for pedestrians. In 2005, new legislation was passed that would allow states to apply for this type of federal funding. Unfortunately, far too few dollars are aimed at pedestrian safety -- despite the fact that Florida is among the most dangerous states in the nation when it comes to serious or fatal pedestrian accidents.

The following schools in our area are participating in this year's events:

-Orangewood Elementary School: Students will be asked to wear their Orangewood T-shirts and are asked to meet Jefferson Park and walk to school so that all students can practice safe walking habits.

-Bayshore Elementary School: This is the third year that this school has participated n the event. During this year, local sheriff’s departments, parents, sponsors and teachers will be walking to school with students.

-Tommie Barfield Elementary School: The school will be asking students within a reasonable distance to walk to school on the 5th.

-Orange River Elementary School: This school will be sending home flyers with students to encourage all student pedestrians to wear their Orange River T-Shirts. These students will be asked to gather in a designated spot located just down the road from the school. Staff members will be joining them as well on this walk.

-Tanglewood Elementary School: Tanglewood will be showing an educational DVD during PE classes for 4 days. In the fall, the school also has a walking program. During the winter, the school has a biking program. PE class is used to practice skill and drills for two weeks. Lastly, Tanglewood organizes a walk to school day and bike to school day/RODEO.

“We can make a difference right here at home, we can make our streets safer,” said Michele King, Director of the Child Advocacy Program at the Children’s Hospital of SW Florida.

How officials can help to keep our child pedestrians safe on our roadways:

-Provide well-maintained a safe areas for pedestrians to walk that are separated from motor-vehicle traffic.

-Teach young pedestrians how to safely cross the street.

-Reduce speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods.

-Ensure that sidewalks meet national accessibility standards.

-Make sure that all intersections and mid-block crossings have curb ramps.

-Install pedestrian signals at all intersections.

Continue reading "Lee County Proudly Supports International Walk to School Day to Raise Awareness about Pedestrian Accidents in Fort Myers" »

October 3, 2011

Pedestrian Accidents in Florida Continue to Concern Fort Myers Accident Lawyers

Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys thought you might be interested in the 2010 Florida Traffic Crash Statistics Report, recently released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. One of the more alarming statistics cited in the report are the increased number of pedestrian deaths, which rose more than 3.5 percent since 2009. This statistical rise will assuredly keep Florida in the number one spot as the deadliest state for pedestrians.
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Julie Jones, executive director of the department, also points out the following highlights of the report:

-Deaths related to traffic crashes on Florida roads have declined by 4.6 percent between 2009 and 2010.

-During the past five years, fatalities related to traffic have declined by 30 percent.

-The number of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled has declined to 1.25 deaths. This statistic is also known as the State Mileage Death Rate.

-Motorcyclist and passenger deaths were down nearly 5 percent compared to 2009.

-Bicyclist and passenger deaths dropped from 99 in 2009 to 76 in 2010, a 24 percent decrease.

-Pedestrian deaths rose from 482 in 2009 to 499 in 2010 a 3.5 percent increase.

-Deaths among teen drivers and passengers declined from 153 in 2009 to 144 in 2010, a nearly 6 percent decrease.

Though traffic-related crashes were down, there were more than 2,400 fatalities due to traffic-related accidents. A five-year decline in fatal traffic crashes is encouraging. Many factors may be at play in the decrease, including the economic downturn; fewer vehicles on the roadways; and improvements in vehicle safety, which has certainly influenced these results.

It makes sense that the State Mileage Death Rate is at a historic low considering how many fewer vehicles are on the roads these days. Declines in total traffic crashes and average crashes per day from 2009 to 2010 were minuscule at .13 percent each. Alarmingly, the "Pending Fatal Blood Alcohol Content" statistic was up 122 percent from 2009.

Though bicyclist deaths were down in 2010, both bicyclist injuries and bicycle crashes rose by 3.95 percent and 3.16 percent, respectively. As we noted on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog back in August, Lee County has a bicycle crash every 34 hours, making it the most hazardous county in the country.

There were declines in teen passenger deaths and injuries, and fewer teen driver injuries and teen crashes but teen driver deaths were unchanged in 2010 from 2009.

We see that overall motorcycle riding is safer, unless you are a passenger. There was a 26 percent increase in motorcycle passenger deaths in 2010.

It was encouraging to see that crashes involving pedestrian and injured pedestrians were down but as we mentioned earlier, deaths to pedestrians increased more than 3.5 percent.

The executive director acknowledges that more work needs to be done to make our roadways safer, and we agree. Most traffic-related accidents are avoidable, and those resulting in personal injury or death are frequently the unacceptable results of poor judgment.

Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, are dedicated lawyers helping accident victims throughout South Florida, including Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Port Charlotte and Sebring. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

NOYS' 2011 Summit to Help Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accident in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 25, 2011.

Seat Belt Usage Meets Record High -- Decreasing Risks of Fatal Car Accidents in Lee County, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 14, 2011.

October 2, 2011

Inexperienced Passengers on Motorcycles at Risk of Serious Injury When Involved in a Naples Motorcycle Accident

Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones has announced that motorcyclist and passenger deaths declined between 2009 and 2010 by 4.7 percent. This information is contained in the 2010 Florida Traffic Crash Statistics Report, released in August.
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Our Fort Myers motorcycle accident attorneys point out that if you combine the number of motorcyclists killed with the number of motorcycle passengers killed, there is about a 5 percent decline. However, if you separate these numbers, motorcyclists killed dropped by almost 7 percent while motorcycle passenger deaths rose by a staggering 26 percent. Motorcycle crashes are a frequent topic on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, which is why the 26 percent increase in motorcycle passenger deaths is alarming.

Other motorcycle statistics in the report include: the number of crashes from 2009 to 2010 declined by almost 10 percent; motorcycle operator injuries dropped by 10 percent; and motorcycle passengers injured fell by almost 5.5 percent.

Here are some helpful motorcycle passenger safety tips:

-Motorcycle passengers should be able to reach the footrests.

-Passengers should be old enough to understand how to ride safely.

-Protective gear including a helmet and appropriate footwear should be worn by the passenger.

-Passengers should be reminded to do the following: hold on to the hand-holds or the operator’s hips or waist; keep feet on the foot rests at all times; ensure feet and hands are clear of moving parts and extremely hot parts such as the exhaust pipe. Also, when entering a corner, make sure you are looking over the operator’s shoulder toward the direction of the corner. Never make sudden movements that could distract the operator. And when riding over an obstacle like railroad tracks, bend your knees slightly while standing on the footrest to let your legs act as shock absorbers.

-Passengers need to think of themselves as a second operator and be accountable for a safe riding experience.

Please keep these thoughts in mind if you plan on having a passenger on your motorcycle:

-Your passenger should actively participate during the ride acting as a second pair of eyes for the operator.

-A passenger will add extra weight to the motorcycle, thus changing its maneuverability.

-Be aware that a sudden stop could cause your passenger's helmet to hit yours.

-Using the throttle and clutch will be different when stopping and starting with the extra weight on the bike.

-Braking is greatly impacted by a passenger, using more pressure will be required as well as adjusting your braking time. Having extra weight over the rear tire also makes for a downgrade to a stop longer.

-Cornering gets tricky because the extra weight has an effect on cornering clearance.

-Extra time will be required for passing.

-Your passenger will have a significant impact on side wind.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in South Florida, contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

NTSB's Most Wanted List includes Motorcycle Accidents in Cape Coral, elsewhere, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, July 20, 2011.

Advocates Team Up to Raise Awareness of Motorcycle Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 1, 2011.

October 1, 2011

Drunk Driving Accidents a Concern in Lee County, Averaging More than One a Day in 2010

In the news recently is the pending sentence that will be handed to a civic leader and former attorney after pleading guilty to a drunk-driving accident that killed a 61-year-old motorcyclist in October 2009.

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13 News reports a tape was played during the sentencing hearing that voiced the drunk driver admitting to a state trooper that he drank half a bottle of vodka during a Florida Gators football game before driving home. The former defense attorney turned himself, but the prosecution is requesting the driver spend 12.5 years in prison. Supporters stood in front of the judge professing the good deeds that the defendant has done in the community and his many charitable contributions to help others in hopes of reducing the sentence.

Sebring drunk driving accident attorneys know that no amount of money or donations can equate to the value of taking a person's life. Drunk drivers must get a fair trial and if guilty be punished to the full extent of the law, even when they are in the public eye.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recently released the 2010 traffic crash statistics. Based on the report, deaths from car accidents in Fort Myers and throughout Florida continue to be of epic proportions, especially when it comes to drunk driving taking the life of innocent victims.

According to the report, there were 17,748 alcohol-related crashes in 2010, roughly 11 percent fewer than 2009. The 2010 statistic equates to approximately 341 drunk-driving accidents a week in Florida alone. Of the 2,444 fatalities on Florida roadways in 2010, 794 deaths were alcohol-related. The percentage of Florida's alcohol-related deaths is right around the national average, which falls at 32 percent of all traffic fatalities. In 2010, there were 7,825 drunk driving injury crashes that resulted in more than 12,000 injuries requiring medical attention. In essence, roughly 1,000 people were injured every month from an alcohol-related accident.

The 2010 report indicated that elderly drivers are less prone to be involved in a fatal drunk driving accident compared to younger drivers. In fact, the highest fatal crash rate per 10,000 licensed drivers for the 70 to 90-year-old age group was .15. The highest drunk driver fatal crash rate per 10,000 licensed drivers for drivers age 15 to 29 was .92.

Not only are motorists at risk of an alcohol-related accident but pedestrians and bicyclist also pose a risk of being involved in an accident while under the influence. In 2010, there were 788 pedestrians involved in an accident after drinking. That's 9.43 percent of all pedestrian accidents. Similarly, 321 bicyclist accidents were caused by drinking, which is 6.43 percent of the total bicycle accidents.

Labor Day and Thanksgiving proved to be the two most fatal alcohol-related traveling holidays in Florida for 2010. These two holidays each reported a total of 15 alcohol-related deaths on Florida roadways.

Collier County reported 258 alcohol-related crashes in 2010, which is the lowest total over a five-year trend from 2006 to 2010. Lee County reported 521 alcohol-related crashes, which was almost 100 fewer than the 617 reported in 2009.

The only way to minimize the risk of drunk-driving accidents is to take a personal oath not to drink and drive. The defense attorney in this case could have continued to do good for the community but instead will face the consequences of a poor decision to get behind the wheel after drinking much of the day.

Contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, if you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk-driving accident in Cape Coral, Sebring, Naples, Fort Myers or the surrounding areas. For experienced advice about your rights, call 1-800-283-2900 for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources:

Civic leader Bruce Duncan's sentence coming at end of September, by Heather Sorentrue, 13 News.

More Blog Entries:

Man Sentenced to 15 Years after North Fort Myers Drunk Driving Accident Kills 2 Nuns, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, August 20,2011.

San Carolos Drunk Driving Accident Lands 24-Year Old behind Bars, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, July 21, 2011.

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