Archive for February, 2015

Florida Has a Long Way to go to Reduce Collision Risks

Drivers in West Palm Beach, Flamingo Park and Wellington face a much greater risk of auto accidents than they should. The reason: Florida does not have very effective laws protecting motorists from risks on the road. A personal injury lawyer knows that laws designed to increase safety can make a big difference in how many crashes happen. This is why it is bad news that Florida scored so poorly on the recently released 2015 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Lawsroad

Florida is Missing Many Fundamental Safety Rules

The 2015 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws assigns a color to states based on how well those states have done in implementing recommended safety laws. States that have made significant progress in implementing laws designed to prevent crashes will be given a green. Just Washington D.C. and 10 states have a green. States that have made moderately positive progress in adopting recommended safety laws are given a yellow. There are 31 states with a yellow rating. Finally, states that have poor performance and a dangerous lack of basic recommended safety laws are given a red. There are only nine states that are given a red, and Florida is one of them.

There are a total of 15 safety laws that states are recommended to have. Florida has just six out of the 15 recommended rules designed to reduce the risk that traffic accidents will occur on state roads. Florida does not have:

  • A law mandating that all riders of motorcycles wear helmets.
  • A law requiring that booster seats be used for kids until age seven.
  • A law allowing law enforcement officers to pull over motorists solely because rear passengers are not wearing seat belts (a primary enforcement rear seat belt law).
  • A law imposing a minimum age limit of 16 to obtain a learner’s permit.
  • An effective law imposing restrictions on new teen drivers operating their vehicles at night.
  • A law imposing restrictions on the number of young teen passengers that a new underage driver can have with him or her in the car.
  • A provision restricting cell phone use for new teen drivers who have only recently obtained their license.
  • A law that would require all convicted drunk driving offenders, including first-time offenders, to install an ignition interlock device. These devices are believed to reduce drunk driving since motorists must blow into a breath test before their vehicle’s ignition will start.
  • A restriction that prohibits all drivers in the state from text messaging while operating their vehicles.

All of these are important safety laws that could help to improve road conditions and potentially cut down on accident injuries and deaths. There were 2,407 traffic fatalities in Florida over the course of 2013 and crashes cost the state $12.079 billion per year. It makes sense for the state to try to reduce these costs and save lives by passing better road safety laws, but it is still unlikely that positive changes will be made any time soon.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims in CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington and surrounding areas. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit http://www.gonzalezcartwright.com/ to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for February, 2015

Could Red Light Cameras Reduce Palm Beach Rear End Collisions?

Red light cameras are common throughout West Palm Beach, Flamingo Park and Wellington. These red light cameras are designed to solve a serious problem: the risk of death in side impact or T-bone crashes. However, while these cameras can reduce the number of side impact collisions that occur, a personal injury lawyer knows that this comes at a price: the risk of rear-end accidents has gone up. signal-1152453-m

Rear-end Accidents More Likely with Red Light Cameras

Safety 1st reports that there has been around a 20 percent increase in fatalities over the past two decades as a result of side impact collisions. One out of every four car accidents in the U.S. is a side impact crash, and one out of every three kids who is killed in a car crash dies because of a T-bone accident.

Many side impact crashes are caused by drivers who run red lights. As the Highway Safety Research Center reports, around 900 people are killed and 200,000 die every year due to drivers running lights. About half happen of these injuries and deaths happen in side impact collisions that occur when a driver runs a light. Pedestrian accidents are also very common when a driver runs a red light.

Red light cameras have largely been effective at reducing the number of drivers who go through red lights, which in turn has reduced the number of fatalities at intersections. The Highway Safety Research Center reported that red light cameras have reduced the number of light-running violations by as much as 70 percent and the average number of T-bone crashes has been reduced by as much as 25 percent after cameras were installed. The Washington Post also showed a 26 percent decline in traffic fatalities over five years in intersection with red light cameras.

The problem is, the Highway Safety Research Center also reports that there has been an average 15 percent increase in rear-end collisions at intersections where red light cameras are installed. Other studies have shown even more substantial increases in the number of rear-end accidents. The National Motorists Association has linked to newspaper reports nationwide showing that there may be many more collisions in intersections with cameras. In some cases, the collision risk as much as tripled in intersections where cameras were found.

The problem is that drivers who get tickets due to cameras tend to slam on the brakes next time they are at an intersection in order to avoid a future citation. This can come as a surprise to the motorist who is following the lead driver, causing a rear-end crash to occur.

Drivers need to be aware that they will likely encounter these cameras and should consider increasing their following distance as they approach an intersection that they know has a camera. That way, if the lead vehicle has to stop, they will have room to put on the brakes before causing a rear-end crash.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims in CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington and surrounding areas. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit http://www.gonzalezcartwright.com/ to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for February, 2015

West Palm Beach Drivers Shouldn’t Count on Technology to Stop Crashes

Many drivers in West Palm Beach, CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington have cars that have advanced safety features. According to AOL Autos, around 75 percent of 2014 vehicles have blind-spot detection systems as optional equipment. Two percent include this as a standard feature. Around 50 percent of 2014 vehicles also have lane detection warnings or lane-keep technology. 

These safety features are intended to reduce the potential for dangerous human errors to cause car accidents. The more technology is able to assist the driver, the less the chance of crashes — or at least that is how things are supposed to work in theory. In reality, a personal injury lawyer knows that technologies can fail and that drivers are ultimately responsible for monitoring the roads and making smart and responsible choices to keep themselves and other motorists safe.

In-Vehicle Technologies Should Not be Relied on To Prevent Car Crashes

Drivers can become too complacent when they have in-vehicle technologies in place and they may come to rely too much on these technologies. This is a problem both because tech devices can stop working or malfunction. It is also an issue because the effectiveness of many of these technologies is variable.

Recently AAA and MIT AgeLab teamed up to conduct a test in order to determine how well crash-avoidance features in cars actually worked to keep people safe and prevent collisions from occurring. Different tech features from a variety of different car makers were tested in order to get an overall idea of how these systems performed across the board. The results were troubling.

The report showed that blind spot monitoring systems had a very hard time detecting when vehicles were moving quickly. One of the times when drivers tend to rely on this system most is when they are merging on to a busy highway. This is, unfortunately, also one of the times when the system was least effective because it had a difficult time seeing the fast-moving cars that were going by.

Blind spot monitoring systems had particular difficulty identifying when a motorcycle was in the path of the driver’s blind spots. The monitoring systems detected motorcycles an average of 26 percent later than they detected passenger cars. By the time the blind spot detecting system realized that the motorcycle was there, the distance between the car and the motorcycle had dropped by 14 percent. In tests where the car was going 50 mph below the motorcycle, the blind spot detecting technology did not identify the passing motorcycle at all.

Lane departure systems had problems as well. When the car was in a construction zone or at an intersection, the systems frequently did not work correctly. Imperfect conditions on the road resulted in the system losing track of where the driver was within the lane. Worn pavement markers and inclement weather also had an adverse impact in how well the lane departure systems worked.

Drivers need to be aware of the limitations of these systems and know that they cannot rely on them to stay safe.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims in CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington and surrounding areas. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit www.gonzalezcartwright.com to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for February, 2015

West Palm Beach Residents at Risk of Exercise Accidents

At the start of a new year, many people in West Palm Beach, CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington resolve that they will do something to improve their health or to improve their life. One of the most common resolutions is to start working out or getting in shape. Exercising is great for your body, but there are also risks with physical activity. A personal injury lawyer knows that these risks are exacerbated if exercise equipment is faulty or if the owners and operators of a gym fail to maintain their space and make it safe for customers. 

Exercise injuries are common and have been increasing. Victims injured in accidents involving exercise equipment or those who hurt themselves due to unsafe conditions at the gym need to take legal action to recover compensation.

Exercise Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury

Exercise accidents happen every day. Just recently, the LA Times reported on a very serious accident involving U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. He was reportedly working out in his home when a resistance band broke on the piece of exercise equipment that he was using. The band struck him in the face and caused him to fall, hitting other gym equipment on his way down.

The injuries were relatively serious and included a broken rib as well as several broken bones in the face. It is not clear whether there was a defect or a problem with the equipment that caused the band to break and led to the injuries.

Although this exercise mishap made headlines because Harry Reid is the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, there are many other people who get hurt every year on exercise equipment and whose injuries don’t make front page news. The Health I Team reports that the number of injuries that have resulted from the use of exercise equipment has actually increased by 45 percent just between 2007 and 2010.

Many exercise accidents occur due to problems with gym equipment that people are using, like broken exercise bands. Treadmills appear to be a particularly problematic piece of gym equipment. In 2005, a total of 16,700 treadmills were recalled as a result of the fact that machines were malfunctioning and shocking users. One company had to recall treadmills both in 2007 and in 2008. The first recall involved 4,600 treadmills due to a malfunction that caused overheating and resulted in the treadmills starting on fire. The second involved the recall of around 20,000 treadmills because the machines had a defect that would cause them to speed up unexpectedly when people were using them.

If a treadmill or other exercise equipment malfunctions due to a problem with the machine, the manufacturer of the machine can be held legally liable for damages. Gym owners and operators who do not follow basic safety rules to protect their premises could also be sued by those who hurt themselves while working out at the gym.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims in CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington and surrounding areas. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit www.gonzalezcartwright.com to schedule a free consultation.