Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

In the upcoming legislative session due to start next month, Florida legislators will once again consider whether texting should be banned in the state. Right now, Florida is one of 15 US states that haven’t made texting while driving illegal. Florida is also among the few states without any type of restriction on cell phone use while driving. Our Miami personal injury law firm is familiar with the types of catastrophic South Florida car crashes that can occur because someone was distracted driving.

This time around, however, lawmakers who favor a statewide texting ban may be coming into the debate with the extra support they need following today’s recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board that use of cell phone and text messaging devices while driving be made illegal throughout the US-unless, of course, there is an emergency situation. Although the NTSB cannot impose state laws, its recommendations are taken seriously by lawmakers.

The federal safety board called is calling for the ban because it says distracted drivers are threatening public safety. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, distracted driving was a factor in at least 3,092 US traffic crashes last year and at any moment during daylight hours, close to 1 out of 100 drivers is using handheld phones. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt even went so far as to call distracted driving the “new DUI.”

When explaining the need for a nationwide ban, the NTSB cited the tragic multi-vehicle Missouri traffic pileup in August 2010 involving a tractor-trailer, a pickup truck, and two buses. More than 30 people were injured and two people killed, including the 19-year-old driver of the pickup, who, within 11 minutes, sent or received 11 text messages. The other victim that died was a 15-year-old that was riding the school bus.

Texting, emailing, and talking on the cell phone are dangerous activities when done while driving. You want to work with a Palm Beach car crash law firm that knows how to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries or a loved one’s death. Just because these driving habits are still legal in Florida does not mean you cannot recover damages.

Cellphone ban while driving? The tragedies behind the issue, Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011
NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving, CNN, December 13, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011
Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011 Continue reading

According to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there has been a 4.6% drop in the number of Florida traffic deaths. Compared to 2009, when there were Florida 2,565 motor vehicle fatalities, there were 2,444 Florida traffic deaths reported in 2010. That’s a nearly 31% drop since 2005. County wise, the number of traffic fatalities also went down in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties last year.

2010 figures also show, however, that the number of Florida pedestrian deaths have gone up by 3.5%. There were 482 pedestrian fatalities in 2009 and 499 Florida pedestrian deaths in 2010.

Other 2010 Florida Traffic Facts:

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, two Wellington teenagers were killed yesterday night and a third one injured after the car they were riding crashed into the back of a semi-truck on South Boulevard East of the Glades. An investigation into the Palm Beach County tractor-trailer accident is currently under way.

Per police, 18-year-old Mazelle M. Demeraski was driving a Camry east on Southern Boulevard when the car struck the rear corner of a semi’s trailer as the larger vehicle was crossing the intersection at C.R. 880. The impact of the crash caused the smaller car to roll over.

Demaraski and 18-year-old Jahmila Mariaca, both Wellington, Florida residents, were pronounced dead at the crash site. A third teen that was with them, 18-year-old Royal Palm Beach resident Eriberto Gomez Jr., was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

It is no longer a secret that texting and surfing the Internet while driving can be dangerous. Yet people continue to get hurt and die because someone was looking at the phone, checking email, sending texts, or surfing the Web rather than paying attention to the road. As our Palm Beach personal injury law firm has mentioned in the past, the US Department of Transportation reported 5,474 distracted driving crashes in 2009 alone. Not only that, but 11 teens a year are killed because of texting while driving. Also, the National Safety Council reports that 28% of traffic crashes that occur involved drivers talking on the phone or texting.

At Palm Beach Atlantic University yesterday, participants were given the opportunity to experience virtually how catastrophic texting while driving can become when they tried texting while on a virtual course. The simulated program, run by PEER Awareness road manager Robert Tower, travels to different schools to help educate teenagers about the dangers of texting combined with driving. The program also includes news footage of interviews with families who lost loved ones in distracted driving accidents involving drivers who were text messaging.

Hopefully, education and awareness will discourage teens and adults from texting or doing anything that keeps them from watching the road. Recently, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against a woman accused of updating her Facebook while driving. The pedestrian who died was a 70-year-old man. Also, another man accidentally drove his car through a bridge guardrail and into a river because he was texting.

Unlike in a number of US states, in Florida there is still no ban on texting while driving even though 17 bills have been introduced pushing for this. That said, this does not mean that texting while driving is not negligent driving when injury or death occurs as a result.

Program exposes the dangers of texting and driving, Sun-Sentinel, February 21, 2011
Ban on Texting while Driving Urged for Florida, First Coast News, February 9, 2011
Representative says texting while driving ban could fail in FL, WZVN, February 21, 2011
Suit: Woman in fatal crash was updating Facebook, Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2011
Man who was texting behind wheel drives off Danvers bridge and into river, police say,, February 22, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, National Safety Council, US Department of Transportation
Distracted Driving, Peer Awareness Continue reading

It’s been a little over two years since a Miami-Dade truck accident claims the lives of three young siblings. Now, Gabriel Delrisco, the drunken trucker who rear-ended the minivan they were in, has pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI manslaughter. He now faces up to 45 years in prison.

Delrisco was driving at speeds over 60 mph and with a blood alcohol content that was three times above the legal limit when he collided with the Serrano family’s vehicle that was stopped at a red light near Homestead on January 25, 2009. Killed in the Miami-Dade motor vehicle collision were Hector, 10, Esmeralda, 7, and Amber, 4.

Delrisco has apologized for his actions, and his attorney says that they don’t believe there is a “viable defense to the case.” The children’s parents, Hector and Mirian, say it is too late for an apology and that that their lives have been destroyed. Hector was in the minivan with the kids on the night of the fatal Miami-Dade auto crash.

Two people were killed yesterday when the car they were riding was hit by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 and dragged 760 feet. Two other autos were also involved in the Florida semi-truck crash.

The two truck collision victims that died are Todd Olthoff and Marcy Olthoff, both 48. Also injured in the four-vehicle collision were Philip Keen, 74, and Sandra Keen, 72, who were briefly trapped in their auto. The driver of the fourth vehicle, Filbert Delva, 35, sustained minor injuries. A construction worker at the scene also sought medical care at the local hospital.

The Florida Highway Patrol says that the trucker, Miami Lakes resident Eduardo Avila, failed to slow down in a construction zone, which was near a closed exit ramp. That was when he rear-ended the Olthoffs’ vehicle, which ended up pinned under the tractor-trailer’s undercarriage. Avila then went on to rear-end the vehicles that were transporting Delva and the Keens.

A Broward County truck crash involving a semi-truck rear ending two vehicles on US 27 has claimed the lives of three people while injuring four others. The catastrophic South Florida tractor-trailer accident occurred on US 27 on December 10.

Killed in the Broward County semi-truck collision were 19-year-old Anthony Perez of Miami, and 19-year-old Ileana E. Mira and 15-year-old Dairon Ledesma, who are both from Hialeah. The Florida Highway Patrol has been looking into whether illegal racing was a factor.

According to witnesses, the Honda Civic and Integra that the trucker Placid Ferdinand rear-ended were stopped and occupying two lanes of the road. FHP says that Ferdinand attempted to stop his Freightliner truck but failed.

The driver of the Civic, Miami Springs 18-year-old Angel Lazo says that he was not racing and that he was experiencing car trouble at the time. Lazo, and 18-year-old Virginia Gardens resident Raymond Garcia, who was driving the Integra, were among those who were injured. Other injury victims include Civic passenger and Miami Springs 19-year-old Matthew A. Foreman. Ferdinand’s wife, Sandy Kay Ferdinand, also sustained injuries.

Truck Accident
Our Miami tractor-trailer crash lawyers want to remind you of the importance of exploring your legal options as soon as possible. Going up against a trucking company to recover Broward County personal injury or wrongful death recovery can be a tough endeavor-especially when attempting this alone. Many trucking companies have the resources and manpower to fight liability claims against them. You need someone who can protect your rights and fight for your right to compensation.

There also may be other parties, such as the driver of another truck, the manufacturer of a faulty vehicle part, or the entity responsible for maintaining a road that had defects who should be held liable.

Third teen dies after truck hit two cars on US 27, Sun-Sentinel, December 10, 2010
Third South Fla. teen dies after Broward crash, Miami Herald, December 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Truck Accidents, Nolo
Fatality Analysis Reporting System
Continue reading

November 8-14, 2010 marks Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. According to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, 41% of drivers surveyed have admitted to drowsy driving. Unfortunately, what many people fail to realize is that driving while tired is similar to driving while under the influence of alcohol. Impaired judgment, slowed reflexes, blurred vision, a foggy mind, and possibly drifting in and out of consciousness can be symptoms of both drunk driving and drowsy driving. Our Miami car accident lawyers have seen the catastrophic consequences that can arise when someone is exhausted or falls asleep while operating a motor vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drivers who fall asleep while driving are responsible for 71,000 traffic injuries, 1,550 fatalities, and over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes in the US annually. Per the AAA Foundation’s new study, drowsy driving plays a role in 16.5% of deadly US traffic crashes.

Among the study’s findings:
• Young drivers, ages 16-24, were the ones most likely to fall asleep while driving.
• Men more than women were more likely to fall asleep while operating a motor vehicle.
• 26.1% of those who admitted to falling asleep while driving did so between the hours of noon and 5pm. The percentage was about the same for drivers who fell asleep between midnight and 6am.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a person that risks drowsy driving takes the chance that he/she will fall asleep at the wheel. That said, some groups are at higher risk of drowsy driving. In addition to young drivers, other motorists who are potentially at risk of this dangerous driving behavior include:

• Shift workers
• Commercial truck drivers
• People with sleep disorders-especially undiagnosed ones
• Business travelers suffering from jetlag
• Tired travelers

One need only look back to the 2009 Miami tractor-trailer accident in Oklahoma involving a 76-year-old trucker who investigators say fell asleep at the wheel. The multi-vehicle chain reaction crash that he triggered killed 10 people and injured 6 others.

Study examines toll of drowsy driving, Washington Post, November 8, 2010
Study shows drowsy drivers behind the wheel, Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Driving Tired is Like Driving Drunk, US News & World Report

Related Web Resources:
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, National Sleep Foundation (PDF)

Read the AAA Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Report (PDF)
Continue reading

A jury has awarded Niven Anderson $720,000 for his Glades, Florida truck crash injuries. The Belle Glade store owner was injured in 2007 during a hit-and-run traffic crash.

Anderson had to undergo surgery for his back and neck injuries. Gypsum Express Ltd. and trucker Matthew Moore are the defendants of the Palm Beach County truck accident lawsuit.

Hit-and-Run Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,558 people were killed in Florida traffic accidents last year. Alcohol was a factor in 770 of the fatalities. On one hand, these latest figures show positive progress. In 2008, NHTSA reported 2,980 Florida traffic fatalities-887 involving an alcohol-impaired driver. The number of Florida traffic deaths have gone down. That said, our Miami car accident law firm looks forward to the day when there are even less traffic injuries and deaths occurring each year in Florida.

Nationally, there also has been a decrease in motor vehicle traffic crash deaths and injuries. NHTSA reports that there were 33,308 motor vehicle fatalities in 2009-a 9.7% drop from the year before and the lowest number of deaths since 1950. Even the number of US motorcycle crash deaths went down from 5,312 fatalities in 2008 to 4,462 deaths in 2009.

More 2009 US Traffic Deaths and Injuries Facts:
• 2,217,000 traffic crash injuries
• 503 truck crash deaths
• 17,000 truck accident injuries
• 90,000 motorcycle crash injuries
• 4,092 pedestrian deaths
• 59,000 pedestrian injuries
• 630 pedalcyclist deaths
• 70,000 pedalcyclist injuries

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that the government is committed to making the roads safer.

NHTSA also has just released its 2009 Distracted Driving Fatality and Injury Numbers:
• 5,474 US distracted driving-related deaths
• 448,000 distracted driving-related injuries

Mr. LaHood has referred to distracted driving as an epidemic. Talking on the cell phone, texting, eating, playing computer games, fiddling with an iPod or stereo, surfing the Internet on a laptop, watching a movie on a portable DVD player, putting on makeup, and reading a book or magazine are just some examples of activities that people have been known to engage in while driving that have distracted them to the point that traffic crash injuries and deaths have occurred.

Although many states have imposed at least some (if not a full) restriction on texting and cell phone use, currently Florida has no such restrictions.

Distracted Driving 2009, NHTSA (PDF)

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes (PDF)

Related Web Resources:

Florida Department of Transportation

US Department of Transportation
Continue reading

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