On Friday, October 9, two men were killed in a car accident on the Palmetto Expressway near NW 122nd street in Hialeah, Florida. According to the Miami Herald, the auto accident occurred at about 4 a.m., pinning one man under a boat and leaving another driver dead. Heavy traffic problems resulted.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Ford pick- up truck, towing a boat, pulled over on the shoulder and a red vehicle pulled off in front to help. While the men were underneath the boat, a Chevy Malibu went out of control and hit the boat, which fell on the men, killing one. Apparently, the second man ran in the red vehicle was frightened and drove off.
The driver of the Malibu was also killed, while the passenger in the Malibu was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Police are still investigating, and FHP has determined that the boat and the truck were stolen. The police also found a bag of marijuana near the Chevy and three bags of a substance which they are testing for cocaine.
Our blog posting entitled “Florida Auto Safety: Move Over Law Saves Lives” discussed laws and safety tips which drivers should follow to avoid tragedies such as this one. While one can’t control an out of control vehicle or other outside factors, drivers should always remember to move far over to the side of the road when checking for damage to your car or any cargo you may be towing, and to be mindful of other drivers while parked on the shoulder.
It’s official: the city of Parkland in Broward County, Florida, has made it illegal to text while driving within city limits. According to the Sun Sentinel, on Wednesday, the City Commission voted unanimously to ban texting, citing a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study.
The study showed that drivers who text are 23 times likely to be involved in an auto accident. The study also showed that drivers who dial their cell phone are 2.8 times as likely to have an accident or near crash event as a non-distracted driver.
This is a landmark decision, as Parkland is now the first city in Broward County to ban text messaging. The penalty for violating the ban? A $100 fine. Of course, on-duty police and fire rescue officials will be exempt from the ban.
In our previous blog “Does Cell Phone Use Cause Florida Car Accidents,” we discussed cell phone use in Florida and the different opinions which South Florida drivers may have on the issue. Some are very apt to the idea of laws which ban usage, while others disagree with laws which dictate how citizens should drive. However, as we noted in our blog, the availability of more studies and research conducted every year is pushing Florida legislators and individual municipalities to enact bans on cell phone use as in Parkland.
Currently, the city of Parkland is still awaiting word from the Attorney General’s office on the legality of this ban. However, police will be issuing warnings.
In any case, the fact remains that despite our dependence and overall acceptance on cell phone usage while driving, the numbers don’t lie. The use of cell phones while driving is a major concern for driver safety, and we suspect that the passage of no-texting laws in Parkland may only be the first of many attempts in the future in cities throughout South Florida.
It was reported by the Miami Herald that two cruise ships collided on Wednesday, September 30, while docked in Cozumel, Mexico. The cruise ship accident occurred when very strong winds blew the Carnival Legend into Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas at about 6:15 p.m. Central time.
Thankfully, both ships suffered minor damage and so far neither ship has received reports of injuries from the combined total of over 4,000 passengers. Besides the fact that many cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean are based in South Florida, injuries on cruise ships are a major concern. As we noted on a previous blog entitled Cruise Ship Passenger Rescued off the Coast of South Florida, statistics showed that 11 million Americans took cruises last year, and that Carnival has had 38 passengers go overboard since 2000.
Of course, passengers must also be responsible, as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics notes that there were 51 alcohol-related recreational boating accidents in Florida in 2000.
According to USA Today, spokespersons for both ships stated that the Carnival Legend sustained broken glass and some damage to the open deck, while the Enchantment of the Seas had minor damage to the stern and railings of the ship. Cleared by Mexican authorities, both ships continued their itineraries to Belize. Currently, the Carnival Legend is embarking on a seven-night Caribbean cruise out of Tampa, while the Enchantment of the Seas is on a five-night Caribbean cruise out of Fort Lauderdale.
A 32-year-old man was injured in a motorcycle accident on Sunday, October 4 at the Palm Beach International Raceway.
According to the Sun Sentinel, the man crashed on the race track, which is located west of Jupiter, Florida, around 2:45 p.m. and was airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
The man was turning when he lost control and hit a wall. He is currently in critical condition. The track was hosting a raceway on Sunday called the Champion Cup Series.
Recently, the Palm Beach Raceway, over 2 miles long with 11 turns, was the site of another serious accident. In May, a 9-yearl-old boy was racing a go-kart when he was critically injured, suffering burns to his torso and arms. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating that incident.
Palm Beach County had 34 motorcycle fatalities last year, according to 2008 Florida Crash Statistics. Broward County had 37 fatalities, while Miami-Dade had 44, with a total of 9,618 motorcycle crashes in Florida. It has been our firm’s experience that some of the most serious injuries sustained by victims of accidents are resulting from either the drivers or passengers of motorcylcles. Therefore, whether in competition or just leisurely riding the streets of South Florida, motorcyclists should always take appropriate safety measures to minimize the risk of serious injury..
Police identified the body of a man who was killed in an auto accident on Florida’s Turnpike as Avi Cohen of Miami Beach, Florida, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The crash occurred near Martin County at about 2:15 p.m. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Cohen, 21, was driving a Ford Explorer when a tire blew, causing the Explorer to veer of the road and roll over. Cohen was apparently not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the Explorer, and died from injuries. Cohen’s passenger, Victor Cohen, was also injured in the car accident. The crash currently under investigation.
A Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report showed that last year, there were a total of 5,207 seat belt violations reported by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, with 3,286 violations reported by the Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Office. According to a Floridadrivers.com Fact sheet, there were 2,889 traffic fatalities in Florida, of which over 59 percent of the drivers were not using available restraint systems. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association showed that seat belt use on highways increased to 90 percent, up from 87 percent in 2007. The consumer/safety group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety note that lap-shoulder belts will decrease a front seat driver’s risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injuries by 50 percent, depending on seating position and type of vehicle.
Campaigns for seat belt safety such as Click it or Ticket, safety advocates, and laws penalizing drivers who fail to use their seatbelts hopefully have made drivers aware of the importance of wearing your seat belt when driving. An accident causing serious injury and/ or death should not be the wake up call to abide by the law. It is clear that statistically, seat belts save lives, so please for your safety, always wear a seat belt when driving.
On Tuesday, September 29, 71-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident Judith Testa was struck by a vehicle and severely injured while crossing the street near East Commercial Boulevard. Unfortunately, it was reported today that Testa died from the pedestrian accident. She was apporxiamtely a block away from her apartment.
According to police, 31-year-old Natalie Affiany of Coral Springs, Florida was making a left turn near the intersection and struck Testa. Ms. Affiany’s driving records showed that she was driving on a suspended license.
Statistics show that South Florida is prone to high rates of pedestrian accidents. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Statistics Report is a great source of this statistical data. The Report states that there were 8,471 pedestrian crashes in Florida last year, with 7,878 crashes resulting in injury and 502 crashes resulting in death. While these numbers reflect a considerable increase since 2007, fatalities decreased approximately 5% from 2007. In fact, the information in the report clearly evidences that Miami-Dade and Broward County had the two highest numbers of pedestrian fatalities statewide last year (66 and 51, respectively).
So far, no charges have been filed yet in this incident, but police are asking for your help. If you have any information about this incident contact Coral Springs Traffic Homicide Investigator Jill Hirsch at 954-828-5753. You can also contact Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).
Large cities like Fort Lauderdale and Miami are prone to heavy traffic, so whether you drive or, like many others, prefer to walk the streets, you can do your best to avoid risk of injury to yourself and others by following traffic signs, observing the rules of the road and keeping a sharp eye out for crossing pedestrians and oncoming traffic.