More than six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 on road safety is still being studied. Certainly there was a marked drop in traffic collisions through the spring and early summer, as lockdown orders shuttered bars, restaurants and all but essential businesses and most of Southwest Florida sheltered in place. ambulance-300x201

But with Gov. Ron DeSantis lifting remaining restrictions at the start of October, and the height of tourism season right around the corner, there is growing evidence that the roads of Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties are once again getting more dangerous.

And perhaps in new ways.

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The decision by Gov. Ron DeSantis to lift the remaining COVID restrictions coincides with the return of early darkness and the start of the tourism season in Southwest Florida.

car accidentDeSantis started October by announcing Phase 3 reopening in response to economic realities and stabilizing numbers of coronavirus cases. Bars, restaurants and resorts were among the businesses permitted to return to full capacity, according to the Orlando Sentinel, although most are still expected to adopt social-distancing and other policies to help mitigate risks.

Daylight Savings Time ends Nov. 1 at 2 a.m., setting the clocks back an hour. National Geographic reports a number of places are trying to end Daylight Savings Time.Love it or hate it, Southwest Florida will see early darkness at a time of year when the days are growing shorter anyway. First common in the United States during World War II, and widely adopted in the 1970s in response to the Energy Crisis, many argue early darkness and early light do not conserve energy and certainly do not contribute to road safety.

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The spookiest thing about Halloween might be the increased injury risks.

We wish you the best and hope you stay safe among the ghosts and goblins that will usher in the official start of  the holiday season. We’ve noticed a number of communities were already installing their holiday lights this week. Perhaps that’s fitting: As historic as it has been,  few will be sorry to see the end of 2020.halloween-1322330-300x225

The coronavirus pandemic might change Halloween some. But it’s a safe bet kids won’t be getting their candy fix on Zoom and our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers know the systemic risks will be largely the same: Pedestrian injuries, collisions caused by drunk driving, and premises liability cases stemming from injuries at resorts, nightclubs, large gatherings and riotous parties.

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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ September focus on drowsy driving is an important reminder of the risks as we head into the autumn travel season.

“Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is a sobering reminder that falling asleep at the wheel has deadly consequences and is preventable,” said Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “We urge all motorists to take responsibility and never drive drowsy.”driver at a glance

The agency partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Trucking Association, and AAA.

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Pedestrian safety and distracted driving awareness are vying for your attention this October.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers recently blogged about the efforts of the inaugural Pedestrian Safety Month.

It is perhaps ironic then that we will also be recognizing October as Distracted Driving Awareness Month after the National Safety Council moved it’s annual awareness campaign from April to October in response to the COVID pandemic.phonedriver-300x225

With Governor Ron DeSantis announcing the end of COVID restrictions on businesses, and the start of tourist season right around the corner in Southwest Florida, all signs point toward increasing traffic on the roads of Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

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The inaugural Pedestrian Safety Month launches this week as the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and safety advocates continue to address the rising number of walkers being killed in traffic collisions.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers have written extensively on this blog about the epidemic of serious and fatal collisions victimizing our most vulnerable road users, including walkers, cyclists and motorcycle riders. South Florida in particular has been identified as among the deadliest locations in America for walkers, with Cape Coral being signaled out as frequently the most dangerous location in America. intersection1-300x225

Nationwide, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased significantly in the last decade as urban centers have revitalized. Explosive growth in places like Southwest Florida has also impacted the safety of walkers, particularly as it relates to pedestrians. E-scooters and rental bicycles have added to the risks. And the COVID pandemic has prompted a record number of bicyclists and pedestrians to take to the streets in favor of socially distanced modes of travel and physical activity.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a campaign to address the broad risks that come as kids head back to class.kidsplaying-300x214

While the coronavirus pandemic has made this school year unlike any other in history – and largely turned the safety conversation to topics like social distancing and face masks – safety advocates are reminding parents of the broader spectrum of autumn risks that greet students and motorists alike.

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COVID-19 restrictions continue to increase demand for bicycles, scooters, and e-vehicles. Purchases have reached record highs and an increasing number of rental options are also reporting high demand throughout South Florida.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association is among the organizations highlighting the increased need for bicycle and e-scooter safety campaigns amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is true in vacation and resort locations like Southwest Florida, and in large urban centers where residents continue to flee the subway and other public transportation options, in favor of bicycles and scooters.bike

Our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers continue to see an increase in the number of incidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists and scooters. This was true even before the pandemic’s social distancing restrictions increased the popularity of such open-air independent and environmental friendly modes of transportation.

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Autumn is traditionally the time of year when many teenagers get their driver’s licenses. Those eligible by age through the summer and autumn often enroll in driver’s education classes at their local high school. hit-and-run

Like traditional schooling, COVID restrictions are impacting driver’s education in many ways, including less in-person class time and behind the wheel training in favor of virtual and online education models.

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Federal, local and state agencies are kicking off campaigns aimed at preventing drunk driving during the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

It has been a stressful summer, unlike any other in history. Typically, Labor Day weekend ends the 100 deadliest days of summer travel. However this year, amid the COVID pandemic, the world is gearing up in an attempt to return to near-normal, which will likely make the roads busier than they have been in months.drunk driving accident lawyer

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s message, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” reports 439 motorists were killed over Labor Day weekend 2018. Nearly half of those crashes involved a driver who had been drinking and more than 1 in 3 involved a driver who was legally intoxicated.

At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we have been fighting for the rights of victims injured or killed by drunk drivers since 1971. As proud supporters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, our law firm also supports drunk-driving checkpoints and roving patrols conducted by local law enforcement agencies.

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