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If you’ve been on I-75 or another divided highway this summer, perhaps you have been surprised, even startled, by passing drivers traveling far faster than the speed limit.

It isn’t your imagination; the number of drivers busted for traveling more than 20 mph over the speed limit is on the rise. This week, law enforcement in five states began “Operation Southern Shield” to crack down on speeding drivers and save lives. Florida joins Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina in the enforcement effort. night-highway-1450204-300x184

Fort Myers injury lawyers continue to see far too many collisions caused by speeding. Excessive speed not only reduces reaction time, it exponentially increases the force of impact, increasing the risk of very serious or fatal injuries.

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The raging debate over the safety of e-scooters is coming to Southwest Florida, as Florida lawmakers largely swept away any final hurdles to the self-transportation devices that have proved wildly popular with teenagers and millennials.e-scooterinjury-273x300

The Tallahassee Democrat reports more than 1,000 e-scooters hit the streets of the state capital this week for a 3-month pilot program. The scooters can be rented at 21 locations operated by five different companies as tens of thousands of people visit the area for college football games this autumn. Pilot programs are also underway in numerous other Florida cities, including Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects a slight decline in the final tally of traffic fatalities in 2018, even as the number of pedestrian and bicycle deaths continues to rise.

Overall traffic deaths are projected to decline by 1 percent, Forbes reported. However, pedestrian deaths were up 4 percent last year, while bicycle deaths surged 10 percent. Both were already at historic highs. Nationwide, more than 36,000 people were killed on the roads last year. pedestriansafety-225x300

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers note Southwest Florida continues to be one of the deadliest areas in the nation for bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports California, Florida and Texas annually report the highest number of pedestrian deaths. All three states join Arizona and Georgia in reporting more than 100 pedestrian deaths a year and together account for nearly half of the nation’s fatal pedestrian accidents.

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Florida has been named the third most-dangerous state in America. ambulance-300x201

ABC News reports Florida ranked 48th safest in a study that looked at five factors: Personal and residential safety, financial safety, road safety, workplace safety and emergency preparedness. Only Louisiana and Mississippi ranked worse.

The annual WalletHub report looked at a total of 52 key indicators, including homicides and assault, unemployment levels, and the impact of natural disasters.

Injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know Florida residents continue to be most impacted by road safety. Florida ranked almost dead last for traffic safety and reports the highest levels of traffic fatalities for pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents, while ranking behind only California and Texas when it comes to drunk driving accidents, car accidents and accidents involving trucks or other large commercial vehicles, according to annual data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Corporate America continues to use mandatory arbitration agreements to strip consumers of their right to make civil claims in court. medicalrecords-200x300

“Voluntary” and forced arbitration agreements are quickly becoming the norm as businesses seek to shield themselves from liability. Kiplinger Finance recently examined the trend of forced arbitration agreements in credit card and other financial contracts. In many cases, consumers are given the option of opting out of arbitration. It’s critical to read the fine print of your contracts and follow up by opting out of such agreements whenever possible.

While most civil claims, including personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, are decided in court, arbitration agreements force both sides to agree to settle their differences through an arbitrator of facts, outside the court of law. Frequently, these arbitrators survive on corporate business.

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Texting and driving became a primary offense this week (July 1) as part of a new law that also prohibits all handheld cellphone use in school zones and active construction sites.

Florida Today reports Florida is among the last states in the nation to prohibit hand-held cell phone use by drivers in school zones and construction sites. Essentially, the rest of the law only bans texting, as most other uses of a phone (dialing, seeking directions, etc.) remain legal, except in school zones or construction sites where workers are present. phonedriver-300x225

As our Fort Myers car accident lawyers reported recently on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, Florida continues to lag far behind most other states when it comes to laws aimed at reducing the risks of distracted driving. 

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The re-trial of a wrongful death case in Orlando is being closely watched this week as plaintiff attorneys attempt to hold Dominos Pizza Inc. responsible for a fatal traffic accident caused by one of its delivery drivers.

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Hot summer jalapeno pepper and meat pizza, macro close up isolated over white

In Wiederhold v. Domino’s Pizza, et al., 2011-CA-001589 lawyers for the victim told jurors at the opening of this week’s trial that Dominos is responsible for the driver’s actions because the company maintained a right of control over the franchise, which rendered the business an agent of the corporation. He said both the franchise owner and store manager would testify that Dominos maintained significant control over the franchise’s day-to-day operations.

Defense counters that the franchise was an independent business and not an agent of the parent company.

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As we enter the height of summer, all of us at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, wish you a wonderful Independence Day.

fireworks-1443766-300x214The weather is beautiful and the beaches and waterways are flourishing. Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers remind you to plan your trip and drive safely, always designate a driver and avoid distraction. Your number one injury risk this summer is being involved in a traffic collision. Boating and water safety should also be high on your list of concerns if you plan to be on the water.

But each year fireworks hit the night sky to signal the start of the peak summer season.  And each year injuries occur, both at sanctioned municipal or corporate shows, or as a result of using backyard fireworks. These incidents are not rare. In fact, they have grown increasingly common amid the nation’s lax enforcement attitude toward fireworks sales. And the injuries typically result in permanent scarring or lasting disability, with severe burns, facial disfigurement, loss of eyesight and loss of fingers being among the most common.

The Insurance Journal reports nearly 13,000 serious firework injuries occur each year in the United States as fireworks sales approach $1 billion amid relaxed laws and enforcement. At least 8 people a year die as result of fireworks injuries. Two-thirds of accidents occur between mid June and mid July.

In Florida, F.S. Chapter 791 governs the sale of fireworks. While the law allows for the sale of fireworks, it prohibits consumer use of anything that explodes or emits sparks, except by permitted groups and organizations that seek advanced permission.  Roadside stands and temporary fireworks emporiums that spring up each summer use the law to sell many fireworks that are not legal for consumers to detonate in Florida.

Effectively, Florida law outlaws all but the sparklers, smoke bombs, and other minor novelty items of the type sold at Publix or Walmart.

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How long do you think it will be before autonomous vehicles are on the roads of Southwest Florida?

If you think you are fully aware of the breakneck speed at which technology is changing all of our lives, consider this: Self-driving vehicles have already been on the roads of Lee County for more than a year.uninsured accidents

Media outlets swarmed over the news this week after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure that will allow self-driving cars, without human backup, to hit the roads in Florida in time for the Fourth of July weekend. Fox 13 Orlando reported it will put Florida at the very forefront of a number of progressive states that have sanctioned the use of such technology on public roads.

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Several serious traffic collisions involving dump trucks in Southwest Florida have authorities urging motorists and commercial carriers to use extra caution.

The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate a fatal crash involving a dump truck and a Honda in Lehigh Acres, according to The News-Press. In a separate incident, NBC2 reports a dump truck and a UPS truck collided at the intersection of Corkscrew and Alico roads in Estero. cementtruck-300x187

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the risks continue to increase when it comes to being involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle. Southwest Florida’s booming economy means dozens of road construction and community housing projects are underway. And the Internet economy continues to put an increasing number of delivery vehicles on the roads, including traffic from a new Amazon fulfillment center that recently opened in Fort Myers.

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