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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is reminding motorists that January is Move Over month.

We recently reported on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog about the risks of highway driving, including the need to understand what to do after a vehicle breakdown or a traffic collision, both of which put you at risk of a secondary collision. It’s always a good idea to move away from vehicles stopped along the roadside. But Florida law requires drivers to slow down and/or move over when approaching roadside vehicles with activated emergency lights.

Last year, the Florida Highway Patrol reported 231 crashes and nearly 17,000 citations issued to motorists who failed to obey the law. car-breakdown-1444959-200x300

 The Move Over Law was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002 and requires drivers to move out of the lane adjacent to stopped safety traffic whenever it is possible and safe to do so, and to otherwise reduce speed to 20 mph below the limit in areas where the speed limit is greater than 25 mph. Utility and sanitation workers were added to the law in 2014.

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trucking accidentSafety advocates are asking what can be done to make the roads safer in the wake of a deadly tractor-trailer collision this month that claimed the lives of 5 boys traveling to Disney World in a church van.

The Ocala Star Banner noted South Florida’s burgeoning growth has put tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicle traffic at increasing odds with other motorists on the road, making trucking accidents in Southwest Florida a growing threat. In this most recent incident, a tractor-trailer burst into flames after colliding with another vehicle, before running through the median and into oncoming traffic, where it struck the church van and another tractor trailer. Seven motorists were killed and eight others were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

While we recently wrote about highway traffic safety on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, the fact remains that motorists are largely at the mercy of large tractor-trailers when driving on the interstate or on many of Southwest Florida’s main thoroughfares. Economic growth and the birth of the delivery economy continues to put an increasing number of commercial trucks on our highway and byways, and even on suburban neighborhood streets, where pedestrians and cyclists face increased risks.

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Five children on their way to Disney World were among seven victims who were killed in a deadly South Florida highway collision.highway-300x184

The News-Press reported eight others were hospitalized after what authorities say was one of the deadliest traffic collisions in state history. The crash on Interstate 75 south of Alachua spilled diesel fuel across the highway. The Florida Highway Patrol reports the children were in a Pentecostal church van headed to the theme park when the collision occurred outside Gainesville. The van was an hour north of the park when a tractor-trailer collided with a car and burst into flames before running through the median divider and into oncoming traffic, where it struck the van and another semi, according to The Washington Post. 

The tragedy is being compared to a January 2012 crash south of Gainesville that killed 11 motorists and sent 18 others to the hospital after a chain-reaction collision caused by low visibility. Our Fort Myers injury lawyers remind drivers there are steps they can take to improve travel safety as we enter the height of tourism season in Southwest Florida.

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Using a hand-held device while driving could soon be illegal in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times reports lawmakers are considering a measure that would turn Florida’s texting ban into a law that would prohibit all drivers from using a hand-held device behind the wheel. The newspaper urged drivers to make it a 2019 resolution, noting it was not hyperbole to call distracted driving an epidemic.car accident

Our car accident attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral agree. We have marked the New Year with a number of driving-safety blogs aimed at reducing car accident deaths and identifying vulnerable road users.

No driving behavior creates more accident risks than driving distracted. Cell phone use is blamed for more than 1.5 million traffic collisions each year, according to the National Safety Council.

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Local businesses are expecting a record-breaking year for tourism in Southwest Florida.

WINK News began the year reporting a booming business on Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Islands, as Southwest Florida looks to overcome red tide and other water-quality issues that plagued the region through much of 2018. boating accident

Water quality issues cost Fort Myers Beach $12 million in August. Captiva reported $15 million in lost revenue. Still, tourism will be Southwest Florida’s biggest business through the Spring Training baseball season. The Naples Daily News reported the day after Christmas that Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) saw record traffic, with more than 9 million annual passengers last year.

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An investigative report on the state of Florida’s nursing home industry brings sobering news.

A series of reports by the Naples Daily News, Fort Myers News-Press and the USAToday Network, reveal Florida agencies responsible for investigating serious cases of nursing home neglect and abuse rarely fulfill their critical mission.nursing homes

Of 54 nursing home deaths reported by other state agencies to have resulted from nursing home neglect or abuse in the past 4 years, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration rarely took action. The AHCA is the state agency tasked with keeping nursing home residents safe. Yet in three quarters of nursing home neglect deaths reported by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the agency took no action against the home. The AHCA admitted to failing to even investigate 10 of the deaths. It’s unclear whether 18 other deaths were reviewed as the deaths are not even mentioned in the agency’s inspection reports.

It’s a staggering revelation that illustrates why it’s so vital that loved ones properly review a home when placing a loved one. Our nursing home injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Naples also urge those visiting nursing homes to speak up about concerns.

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As we reported recently on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, we bring more new products into our home during the holidays than at any other time of the year, which increases defective product injury risks, particularly among children.skateboard-197x300

Our child injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know their are some identifiable risks associated with many products marketed to children, and understanding those risks can go a long way toward keeping your child safe. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19, claiming more than 12,000 young lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 9 million children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year after unintentional injury. The most common causes include transportation accidents, suffocation, drowning, falls and animal bites.

In some cases, a product defect may lead to child injury risks. Lack of sufficient age-use warnings may also result in child injury. In other cases, a product is inherently dangerous. Riding toys, such as a bicycle, scooter, dirt bike or skateboard, are the leading cause of toy-related injuries. Those gifting such presents to a child should always check with the parents first, and such gifts should always come with necessary safety gear, including helmets.

Good Housekeeping’s rank of the 20 most dangerous toys of all time include an easy bake oven, fidget spinners, hover boards, lawn darts, slip-n-slides, toy crossbows, toy guns, sling shots, trampolines and even a Cabbage Patch doll.

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As part of our focus on road safety as we enter 2019, it’s important to note the vulnerable road users at highest risk of being involved in a serious or fatal traffic accident in Southwest Florida.

As we reported recently on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, Lee County and Collier County continue to see an increasing number of traffic deaths. 

Through Christmas Day, more than 12,000 traffic collisions have been reported in Lee County this year, injuring nearly 5,000 motorists and claiming 86 lives. More than 100 traffic fatalities were reported in Lee County in both 2017 and 2016, compared to 71 traffic deaths reported in 2011. biccylesafety-300x281

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Lee County is nearing 100 traffic deaths for the third year in a row.

The News-Press reported a series of fatal traffic accidents that claimed five lives the week before Christmas, including the death of a 58-year-old safe-cycling activist. The 58-year-old rider was struck on U.S. 41 as he cycled northbound ahead of a 2016 Dodge Ram pickup truck, which rear ended his bicycle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Our injury lawyers in Southwest Florida know Lee County traffic collision risks have increased substantially in recent years. Other holiday traffic deaths this year include:ambulance-300x201

  • A 19-year-old pedestrian was killed in a crash on State Road 82 at Buckingham Road.
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A series of high-profile drunk driving collisions has authorities concerned as we head into the heart of the holiday season.

This week, First Coast News reported the Florida Highway Patrol arrested a 46-year-old woman accused of causing a collision that killed a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office employee. The victim was driving with her husband and two children when the defendant’s vehicle reportedly struck the family’s car, causing it to rollover.

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In South Florida, CBS4 Miami reports a Coral Springs firefighter is facing a DUI manslaughter charge, after allegedly driving into a group of motorcyclists on the Florida Turnpike after attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Closer to home, a Lee County man was arrested and accused of drunk driving Thanksgiving weekend after a crash at Summerlin Road and Pine Ridge Road. He told officers he thought he was in an Uber on the way to jail.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers support Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other education and prevention efforts to keep intoxicated motorists off our roads. In addition to alcohol intoxication, driving under the influence of drugs has increasingly become a concern.

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