Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

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 to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

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 to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

West Palm Beach Teen Crashes Curbed With Parent Help

Teen Driver Safety Week, which occurs annually in October, has drawn to a close. During this time, parents were urged to participate in the “5 to Drive” campaign, organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The goal of the campaign was to get parents to talk to their teens about some of the dangerous driving behaviors that lead to teen motor vehicle crashes. 

A personal injury lawyer knows car accidents remain the leading cause of death for young people. Parents play a big role in helping to reduce the risk of accidents. Although Teen Driver Safety Week is over, parents need to continue to enforce rules to help ensure their kids don’t make dangerous mistakes behind the wheel. Parents and guardians should also ensure that they are setting a good example, as kids tend to mimic the behaviors that they see their parents engage in behind the wheel.

Parents Can Make a Difference in Reducing Teen Accidents

According to the NHTSA, 4,283 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were involved in deadly accidents and 44 percent of the drivers died in the collisions. In total, this is a loss of 1,875 young people between the ages of 15 and 20. Motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of fatalities, despite the fact that motor vehicle accident deaths on the whole have been declining in recent years.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stressed the important role parents play in reducing the risk of teen accidents. Parents were encouraged to talk to their teen about a different important driver safety issue every day over Teen Driver Safety Week and to continue the conversation even after this week has ended. The issues that parents should be sure to talk to their teens about include:

  • Cell phone and texting use while driving.
  • Making sure kids do not have passengers in the car. Teens are 2.5 times more likely to engage in high-risk driving behaviors with one friend in the car and three times as likely when they have multiple teen passengers.
  • Driving at or below the speed limit.
  • Refraining from consumption of alcohol.
  • Always buckling up when behind the wheel.

The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published an article on teen drivers that also affirmed the importance of the role of the parent. Parents have multiple roles when it comes to teen drivers including:

  • Giving permission for teens to get a license.
  • Controlling access to vehicles.
  • Setting family rules and punishments for infractions.
  • Selecting the vehicle that a teen will drive.
  • Acting as a driving instructor and a supervisor.
  • Serving as a role model for safe driving.

Parents, however, are frequently unaware of high-risk driving behaviors by teens and they often place more restrictions on details like the destination or the time a teen comes home as compared with dangerous driving conditions like night driving with teen passengers.

Parents should be sure they are doing everything they can to reduce the risk that their sons or daughters will make high-risk decisions that endanger others while driving.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Avoid Thanksgiving Crashes in West Palm Beach by Adhering to Safety Tips

The risk of a motor vehicle collision is significantly increased over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Drivers need to be aware there are many dangerous conditions if they are traveling over the holidays.

A personal injury lawyer knows that one issue is that there are many more people on the roads over the holidays. Drivers may also tend to get behind the wheel while impaired, which creates a significant safety risk. 

To make sure that you and your family get to your destination safely, you should follow some best practices for safe driving.

The Risk of Collisions on Thanksgiving Day

According to USA Today, Thanksgiving is the holiday with the third-highest number of motor vehicle accident deaths on U.S. roadways. The only holidays where more people get into deadly accidents are Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Between 2006 and 2011, a total of 15 percent of all of the traffic accidents during the month of November happened over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which extends from Wednesday through Sunday night surrounding the holiday. Between 2001 and 2008, there was a steadily increasing number of deaths during this time period. A record number of deaths happened in 2006, when there are 623 motorists who lost their lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also cautioned that Thanksgiving is a very dangerous time. In 2012, for example, there were 416 motorists killed over the Thanksgiving period.

In addition to the fatalities, there are also thousands who suffer injury. In 2012 alone, around 46,000 people got hurt in motor vehicle traffic accidents between the Wednesday and the Sunday around Thanksgiving.

There are lots of reasons for the high number of deaths. One issue is that there is a lot of traffic on the roads over the Thanksgiving holiday. According to AAA, for example, around 43.4 million Americans traveled a distance of 50 miles or more over Thanksgiving in 2013. In 2012, there were more than 44 million people who traveled at least 50 miles. More people on the roads means that there is a greater potential for collisions to occur.

Unfortunately, many drivers over Thanksgiving also make unsafe choices. The NHTSA indicated that around 42 percent of people who were killed in Thanksgiving crashes were in collisions that involved drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher.

To reduce the risk of becoming hurt or killed in a traffic collision over Thanksgiving, drivers are urged to follow some basic safety rules. For example, the NHTSA suggests that drivers should:

  • Ensure they buckle their seat belts at all times behind the wheel.
  • Use appropriate safety seats when traveling with children.
  • Avoid drinking and driving and refrain from getting into the car with anyone who has been drinking.
  • Pay attention to the roads and avoid driving while distracted.
  • Stay out of the “no zone,” which is the blind spot area around trucks and buses.
  • Plan ahead for rain and leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.

By following these basic safety tips, hopefully you can avoid getting into a crash and injuring yourself or others over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Is the Government Being Misleading on Traffic Safety?

When the number of traffic accident deaths increased in 2012 to 30,800, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tried to downplay the bad news. The news release detailing the increase talked about how this country had seen a dramatic decline in traffic fatalities and how the number of deaths remained at record lows despite the small increase over the course of 2012. 

The reality is that the U.S. has seen a significant drop in the number of people killed in traffic collisions since the death toll peaked in the 1970’s. However, personal injury lawyers serving West Palm Beach and communities throughout Palm Beach County area know other countries have done a lot better at reducing the number of people who die in traffic collisions. In fact, a full 25 other countries beat the United States in terms of the percentage reduction in traffic accident deaths. Recently, an article in USA Today offered an explanation for why other countries have been so superior to the U.S. in making their roads safer.

Why the U.S. Isn’t Reducing Traffic Fatalities Enough

In the 39 years since 1972, the United States experienced a 41 percent reduction in the number of people who were killed in motor vehicle collisions over the course of the year. During the same period of time, Germany and the Netherlands experienced an 81 percent decline in traffic fatalities while Great Britain experienced a 76 percent reduction in traffic accident fatalities.

The reason these and other countries had so many fewer people dying is because they have done a lot to try to change driver behavior. In the United States, on the other hand, regulatory authorities have focused on improving technologies that are intended to eliminate the potential for human error or that are intended to reduce the damage that is done to the body after a collision occurs.

For example, just recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made announcements about adding vehicle-to-vehicle communications devices so people in different cars could talk to each other in order to avoid crashes.

Unfortunately, technology is not perfect and there is potential for technology to fail. The GM ignition switch problem is one devastating example of what happens when technology does not work right and shows clearly why we should not be counting on technological devices to solve our traffic fatality problem.

Instead of focusing primarily on technology and improving crash protective gear to shield the body from the impact on a crash, U.S. lawmakers and regulators would do better to try to change driver behavior so that people are less likely to get into collisions in the first place. For example, radar detectors, red light cameras and tough laws prohibiting distracted driving are examples of some of the different things that other countries have embraced more wholeheartedly than the U.S.

If the U.S. followed the lead of other locations throughout the world and made a strong effort to change the behavior of drivers so they did not take unnecessary risks, as many as 20,000 fewer Americans could die in motor vehicle collisions.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation.

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Preventing Child Fatalities in Motor Vehicle Collisions

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched a new tool designed to help parents learn when a car seat has been recalled. The goal is to increase child passenger safety and reduce the number of children who are killed in motor vehicle accidents. West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers serving Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and Broward County know a car seat can be the best line of defense in saving a child’s life if an accident happens. However, the car seat must be in good working order, installed properly and free of defects if it is to have the desired safety impact for a young child. 

Car Seat Safety Advice for Parents

In announcing its new initiative, the NHTSA shared the disturbing data that a child aged 13 and under is involved in a motor vehicle collision every 34 seconds within the United States. Whether a child is properly secured in the vehicle or not makes a profound difference in whether he or she is likely to survive the incident. In fact, more than a third of kids who were killed in motor vehicle accidents either had no seat belt on or were not properly secured in a car seat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also stress the importance of both car seats and booster seats. According to the CDC:

  • Using a car seat can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for an infant aged one and under.
  • Using a car seat or a booster seat can reduce the risk of death by 54 percent for children between the ages of one and four.
  • Using a booster seat can reduce the risk of death by 45 percent for children between the ages of four and eight.

Unfortunately, even parents who try to use car seats may not be getting the safety benefits that they expect. This is because sometimes parents use the wrong car seat or because the vehicle car seat that they choose is defective.

Just in 2014, for example, the NHTSA pushed to have more than 7.4 million car seats recalled as a result of a defective buckle. Unfortunately, even with so many car seats recalled, only 40 percent of parents who had purchased the potentially defective car seat were able to get repairs made. When a recall occurs on a light vehicle, by contrast, a full 75 percent of drivers get the necessary repairs done. This is because light vehicles must be registered by law while there is no requirement for car seats to be registered. Manufacturers cannot track people down and parents don’t hear about recalls, so car seats do not get fixed.

The NHTSA’s new initiative hopes to change that. The NHTSA has launched a Parental Central site and encourages parents to register their car seats. This way, the manufacturer can get ahold of them as soon as a recall happens.

The new tool ads to existing resources the NHTSA provides for parents to help encourage child safety. For example, the NHTSA also has a Car Seat Finder where parents can input their child’s age and weight and find the right car seat or booster seat for their specific needs.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation.

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Stoned Drivers an Increasing Risk in West Palm Beach?

As Floridians consider a ballot measure this November to legalize medical marijuana, as some states legalize marijuana for recreational use, concerns about stoned driving are mounting. Drivers who operate their vehicles while under the influence of marijuana can present a hazard on the road. Unfortunately, regulating stoned driving is an inexact science and states are having difficulty crafting laws that work effectively to keep unsafe motorists off the roads. 

Personal injury lawyers in West Palm Beach know that marijuana users have delayed reaction time and impaired judgment that can increase the likelihood of a collision. Finding a way to keep people from driving stoned needs to be a top policy goal to protect motorists and pedestrians, especially if Florida’s ballot measure passes. Drivers also need to understand the dangers of driving while stoned before they use medical or recreational cannabis.

Stoned Driving Problems Plague Marijuana Legalization Movement

The ABA Journal indicates that it is “imperfect science” to craft laws for stoned driving. In Colorado and Washington where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use, someone is considered to be driving while impaired if he has more than 5 nanograms of active THC in his blood stream. In Oregon where marijuana legalization is on the ballot, however, there is no THC limit as part of the proposed legalization and law enforcement officers are given discretion to determine if a motorist is too stoned to drive.

There is criticism about the use of THC levels to determine if someone is impaired. A study conducted in Britain found that levels of THC peak around 10 minutes after someone has smoked cannabis, but users experience the highest levels of euphoria around half an hour after consuming the drug. Further, a forensic lab expert has indicated that the THC concentration in the blood does not directly correlate to the effects of marijuana, and scientists haven’t actually established a connection between the levels of THC in the blood and the levels of driving impairment.

While we may not know exactly what THC level makes someone too stoned to drive, the FDL Reporter does have some facts that have been established about marijuana use. For example:

  • Marijuana users are able to successfully complete simply tasks but brain imaging studies show that they must use more of their brain to do those tasks while stoned as compared with when they are sober.
  • Marijuana users are not as able to multi-task as someone who has not consumed cannabis.
  • Reaction times are slower for someone who has used cannabis.
  • The peripheral vision of someone who has used marijuana is decreased.
  • After the legalization of marijuana in Washington, nearly 25 percent more motorists tested positive for the drug as compared with before legalization.
  • The share of drivers involved in deadly motorcycle accidents in Colorado who tested positive for THC more than doubled between 1994 and 2011.

It is clear that marijuana users are less equipped to respond if something sudden happens on the road, like a pedestrian stepping in front of the car. These drivers present a danger to themselves and to others and states need to find a way to effectively regulate stoned driving.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

A Safer Route for West Palm Beach Drivers

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (F.I.A.) is the governing body of motor sports and the umbrella association of national road car associations throughout the world. Recently, two F.I.A. officials were nearly killed when a truck driver rammed into their rental car, which was parked on the shoulder of a road with a flat tire. The officials spotted the truck and were able to jump back off the road before the car was hit. As the New York Times reports, the incident underscored the F.I.A. official’s concern about the pressing need for safety education programs for the driving public. 

According to the New York Times, the F.I.A. “compares the problems caused by poor driving to disease epidemics.” Worldwide, motor vehicle collisions cause 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries annually. Things are getting worse, and by 2020, two million people will die across the globe as a result of traffic collisions. The F.I.A. has prepared the 10 Golden Rules, which drivers can follow to help reduce the risk of hurting themselves and others in a collision. West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer know that if every driver would make a commitment to following best practices for safety, many motor vehicle fatalities could be prevented in Florida and across the United States.

The F.I.A’s 10 Rules for Road Safety

The F.I.A. asks drivers to pledge to:

  • Buckle up.
  • Respect the rules of the road. The rules of the road are there to protect everyone. If a driver fails to follow the rules, victims may be able to obtain compensation without specifically proving the motorist was unreasonably careless.
  • Check the tires. Worn tire treads or inadequate tire pressure can cause a vehicle to go out of control.
  • Drive sober. A person with a blood-alcohol concentration of just .02 percent is already slightly impaired and is a worse driver than someone who has not consumed any alcoholic beverages. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) that around 10,000 people die every single year because of impaired driving. In Florida, 697 people died in 2012 due to drunk drivers according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  • Pay attention to the road. Distracted driving is rapidly becoming a leading cause of motor vehicle collisions. reports that 3,328 people in the U.S. lost their lives in distracted driving collisions in 2012 alone.
  • Stop when tired. Drowsy driving is also considered to be just as dangerous as impaired driving, as a fatigued driver has delayed reaction time, slower reflexes, impaired judgment and is in danger of falling asleep.
  • Wear a bicycle helmet when appropriate to protect the head.
  • Br courteous and considerate of other drivers. Road rage and aggression are a leading cause of motor vehicle collisions.

Drivers need to follow these important rules in order to help make the roads safer for everyone.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

School Bus Safety Tips to Prevent West Palm Beach Accidents

With children heading back to school, many kids will be commuting via school bus. However, the Bradenton Herald reports that a recent school bus accident in Florida has raised concerns over child safety. 

The reality is that approximately one percent of children killed in transportation accidents when going to school lose their lives in collisions involving school buses, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Unfortunately, the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts also reveal that there were 1,222 fatal school-transportation related accidents in the last decade. Between 2003 and 2012, the fatal accidents resulted in 174 kids losing their lives while commuting to school.

Of the kids who were killed, 55 were riding on school buses at the time of the incident and another 119 were killed as a result of pedestrian collisions involving a school transportation vehicle. A personal injury lawyer should represent families when a child is  injured or killed while in the care of a school district.

Avoiding school transportation accidents

Accidents involving transportation to and from school can be avoided if kids, drivers and parents follow best safety practices. The NHTSA has published a guide called Kids, the School Bus & You, which is targeted towards protecting the 23 million students nationwide who commute to school via bus.

Drivers must do their part to keep these kids safe. The NHTSA recommends:

  • Drivers lookout for kids who may be walking or bicycling by before they pull out of driveways or parking spots, especially as the school year starts and more kids are on the roads during high traffic times.
  • Drivers must pay attention to school zone areas and must be watchful of kids who are walking to school within these zones.
  • Drivers should slow down in areas where there are no sidewalks and should be watchful of kids who may be walking or biking to school or who may be waiting near bus stops.
  • Drivers need to follow the rules when it comes to stopping for school buses. Yellow flashing lights are an indicator to other motorists that the bus is preparing to stop in order to load or unload children. A stop arm and red flashing lights indicate that the bus has stopped and that kids are in the process of getting onto or off of the bus. Motorists are required to slow and prepare to stop at yellow flashing lights and must stop for red flashing lights.

Children should:

  • Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the time the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Stand at least six feet (three giant steps) away from the curb and line up to board the bus away from the street.
  • Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and until the driver says that it is OK before trying to climb aboard the bus.
  • Use the handrails to avoid falling down both when getting on and getting off of the bus.
  • Ensure that you are at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before crossing the road and make sure that the bus driver can see you before crossing.
  • Avoid walking behind the bus at any time.
  • Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of a bus.
  • Never try to pick up items that you have dropped near the bus until you have alerted the driver you plan to do so, as the driver may not see you if you are bent over.

Parents should make sure that kids know these best practices for school bus safety in order to reduce the risk that an accident will occur.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Pets Can Be a Deadly Distraction for West Palm Beach Drivers

Dogs love riding in cars and many motorists in West Palm Beach take their canine family members with them when they get in their vehicle. Unfortunately, having a pet in the car can be very risky for motorists. 

A driver with a pet in the car may be distracted and may endanger himself and others. Victims of a collision with a distracted driver need to understand their legal rights and should consult with a personal injury attorney.

Pets are a Dangerous Distraction for West Palm Beach Drivers

Esurance provides disturbing information about the major risks associated with having pets in your vehicle with you when you are driving.

According to a 2011 survey jointly conducted by AAA and Kurgo 65 percent of people who drive with their dogs admit that they have reached back, taken photos, held down their pet, or pet their dog while they were driving.

It takes just two seconds of driving while distracted to significantly increase the risk of a collision according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers who look away to deal with their pets may look away for much longer and are not focusing their full attention on the road.

If a driver does get into a collision when distracted by a pet, the animal may be at risk and may endanger everyone in the car. An unrestrained pet can turn into a projectile and fly around the vehicle, striking occupants. A 10-pound dog that is not restrained can generate as much as 500 pounds of force if the animal is in a car that crashes while the vehicle is going at least 50 miles per hour. An 80-pound dog can generate around 2,400 pounds of force even in a collision where the driver is going just 20 miles per hour.

Avoiding Dangerous Distractions

Although your pet can be dangerous, you don’t have to give up taking your dog along. There are plenty of ways to travel safely and avoid the risk a pet can present. For example, there are two common ways to restrain your pet both to prevent the dog from distracting you and to ensure the pet doesn’t fly around the car in a collision.

One option is to use a pet seat belt. These seat belts should be purchased separately as using human seat belts is ineffective and dangerous. Pet seat belts should be sized appropriately for your animal and they work in tandem with regular car belts. Pets in seat belts should sit in the back seat and not the front as air bags can cause serious injuries to animals.

Pet carriers are also a safe way to transport your pet in the car. Be sure to select a carrier that has enough room for your dog to turn around in and to stretch out in. The carrier should have plenty of room and you should secure it within the car so it stays safely in place if you get into a collision or if you are forced to break suddenly.

Personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach can help. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit to schedule a free consultation.