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February 28, 2015

Hit-and-Run Awareness Focus of FHP Effort as Incidents on Rise

Yet another fatal hit-and-run accident in Daytona has been reported, as officials report a pedestrian struck by a motorist in early January has died of his injuries.
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The reportedly homeless 56-year-old pedestrian had fought for his life for nearly two months before succumbing to critical injuries, which police say were caused when a 23-year-old driver struck the man as he crossed the street. The driver never stopped to try to help the man he hit, as required by law, though he was later located and arrested following a Crime Stoppers tip. He now faces felony charges.

In another recent accident case out of Central Florida, police in Ocoee released footage of an SUV driver running over two fifth-graders riding their bicycles home from school last month. The driver, 40, did not stop at the scene and left the children bleeding and injured in the roadway. Authorities later located the driver in part due to the video obtained by a nearby traffic camera. One of the children suffered severe damage to her brain, though doctors say it's too early to determine the extent of the damage due to the severity of her injuries. She is still in a medically-induced coma in intensive care.

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February 26, 2015

Elder Driver Safety Focus of $12M, 5-Year Study by AAA

Older drivers face a host of unique challenges behind the wheel, including diminished eyesight, weakened muscles, reduced hearing and eventual cognitive decline. Additionally, their physical frailty makes them more prone to serious injury or even death when a crash does occur.
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However, they are far from the most dangerous drivers on the road. On the contrary, they are more likely than their younger counterparts to wear their seat belt, refrain from drinking and driving, avoid speeding and compensate for their loss of abilities by driving less.

It's estimated currently there are 35 million drivers in the U.S. over the age of 65, and that figure is expected to increase exponentially over the next 13 years.

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February 24, 2015

Study Indicates Drugged Driving Increasingly Common

A new study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates drugged driving has become more common, while alcohol-impaired driving has dropped off.
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Although this news is useful for traffic safety experts in terms of initiating meaningful safety measures, what isn't especially helpful is what some news outlets erroneously gleaned from the report: The notion that drugged driving is somehow safer than alcohol-impaired driving.

For example, The Washington Post's WonkBlog led with the headline, "Stoned Drivers are a Lot Safer Than Drunk Ones."

Tell that to the four victims of a 24-year-old drugged driver who caused a three-car collision in Volusia County in 2012 on Interstate 95. Two teens were killed and two others seriously injured after the suspect pulled out suddenly from the emergency lane in front of a pickup truck on the interstate, causing the truck to roll. At the time, defendant was reportedly smoking marijuana and had consumed other substances as well. He was ultimately convicted for DUI manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

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February 18, 2015

Report: Driver Roadway Safety Attitudes, Actions Conflicted

The newest annual report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that while nearly 1 in 3 drivers have a friend or relative who has been seriously injured or killed in a car accident, many still continue to drive carelessly.
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This is despite many indications in the 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index these drivers know better.

The survey was conducted using a sample of more than 2,700 licensed drivers. Researchers discovered while many knew someone who had been affected by a bad car accident or had even personally been harmed, they continued to engage in behaviors like texting while driving, operating a vehicle while fatigued, running red lights and speeding.

The pattern indicates one the foundation has noted in previous surveys: A "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" attitude held by many motorists. For example, while 55 percent of drivers say red light running is a very serious threat, and 73 percent deemed it totally unacceptable, more than one-third of drivers conceded they had done so themselves in the last month. When it came to speeding more than 10 miles-per-hour above the speed limit, more than 45 percent of drivers indicated it was a serious threat and 65 percent said it was totally unacceptable. And yet, nearly half of all drivers admitted they had done it themselves in the last month. Driving while distracted was another major issue. While 79 percent reported engaging in such behavior was a very serious threat to their own safety and 85 percent indicated it was totally not acceptable, nearly 30 percent said they had done it in the last month.

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February 14, 2015

Officer-Involved Accidents an Issue in Volusia County

Police officers often spend a large portion of their day in their vehicles, patrolling. Given this fact, it's a testament to their commitment to safety that wrecks don't occur more frequently.
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However, as a recent Daytona News-Journal report highlighted, it is a problem in Volusia County.

The report details the case of a Port Orange police officer who fatally struck a motorcyclist with his patrol car in December. The officer was returned to his job on desk duty while the Florida Highway Patrol and his own agency continued their investigation of the incident.

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February 7, 2015

DUI Injuries Continue as Florida Assesses Prevention Methods

Every parent dreads that phone call indicating their child has been involved in a serious car crash. However, one Florida woman was reportedly not only drunk as she drove her two children, ages 4 and 5, she also allegedly committed a hit-and-run resulting in injuries to a 17-year-old pedestrian and damages to two other vehicles.
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Authorities told Florida Today the 32-year-old mother had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.232 percent - nearly three times the legal limit - when she was stopped.

Investigators reported the woman struck the teen pedestrian on State Road 520 before running a red light and slamming into a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle. Both of her children were transported to a local hospital, one with serious injuries. The teen pedestrian also sustained serious injuries and had to be airlifted to a local hospital. The pedestrian reportedly had numerous fractured bones and was described by witnesses as "all beaten up," and doctors reported she had to undergo surgery on her legs.

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January 30, 2015

Florida Hit-and-Run Crashes Increase Sharply

A Daytona Beach family has reached out for answers, following the death of a 27-year-old man killed in a recent hit-and-run crash on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. According to witnesses, a person driving a black Mercedes was speeding southbound and slammed into the back of the victim's car as he was stopped at a red light. The impact was severe, and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
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However, the driver of the other vehicle didn't stick around, fleeing the scene before authorities arrived.

While such actions are not only morally reprehensible and illegal, they are increasingly common - at least in Florida, according to a new report.

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January 25, 2015

Report: Florida Worst Place to Have a Collision

One would think there is no ideal place to be involved in a car accident. However, a recent study indicates some states may be worse than others when it comes to financial impact for crash victims. caraccident.jpg

Turns out, Florida is ranked the very worst place in the country in this regard.

The research was conducted by reporters at WalletHub, who analyzed rates of uninsured drivers, the various amounts of minimum liability coverage mandated by state governments, state-required insurance for medical expenses or personal injury protection and efforts to shield drivers from uninsured/underinsured drivers. Information was culled from all 50 states, and the District of Columbia.

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January 20, 2015

Florida Bicycle Injuries, Fatalities Remain Serious Problem

A 31-year-old bicyclist was killed in Volusia County recently when he was struck by a vehicle, according to investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol.
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Authorities are still piecing together details of the crash, which occurred on U.S. 1, but say it appears the bicyclist was crossing the road when he traveled into the path of a Jeep driver. The cyclist was struck, tossed from the bike and pronounced dead at the scene.

The 55-year-old Jeep driver was not injured. It remains unclear at this point whether she will face any charges.

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January 15, 2015

Liability When At-Fault Driver Suffers Medical Emergency

The Orlando Sentinel recently reported a car-versus-truck crash wherein the driver of the car "zoned out" and drifted in to the left lane, crossing the median and striking a work truck, causing both vehicles to ignite and four people to suffer serious injury.
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A Good Samaritan, a former law enforcement officer who happened to be passing the scene, rescued all of the victims from the burning vehicles.

That man, later speaking to a news reporter, speculated the driver of the car "must have been having some type of medical emergency."

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January 12, 2015

Daytona Fireworks Injury and Negligence Law

It's not uncommon throughout the country - and especially in Florida - for revelers to ring in the New Year with a homemade fireworks display. fireworks2.jpg

The problem with this is not only that it's illegal, but also very dangerous. This Daytona News-Journal reported this past New Year's Eve, a Daytona Beach Shores man lost his right hand as he set off fireworks in his back yard.

The injury-causing explosion occurred just 20 minutes before the clock struck midnight. The man was rushed to the emergency room. However, doctors will not be able to reattach his hand because responders were only able to uncover pieces of it.

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January 7, 2015

New Year, New Florida Car Seat Law, Effective 1/1/15

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, children between the ages of 4 and 5 must be strapped in to either a child-safety or booster seat. Previously, children in those age groups were allowed to simply wear a regular safety belt provided they met certain physical requirements. seatbelt1.jpg

Officials with the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles noted that while seat belts are an effective means of ensuring safety in the event of a crash, they only work when worn properly. A child who is 4 or 5 years-old is not, on average, large enough for a typical seat belt to fit correctly in order to maximize protection. This is why a child safety seat or booster seat, which elevates the child, will ensure they are protected.

As of December 2014, the Florida Highway Patrol reported five children had died and 145 were injured in motor vehicle crashes directly as a result of not wearing safety restraints or not being properly restrained.

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December 27, 2014

Florida Winters See Increase in Motorcycle Accidents

Florida is a biker's paradise - especially in the winter. Just like an annual bird migration, motorcyclists flock to Florida for a warm respite from the brutal northern cold and snow. The milder, dry conditions are ideal, and generally makes for a safer trip. Even locals tend to ride more in the winter, as there is a break from the oppressive heat and humidity that plagues the state in summertime.motorcycle1.jpg

This is largely why organizers of Daytona Beach Bike Week hold the massive annual festival in late February/early March, at the tail end of the winter season.

But all of this of course means more motorcyclists on the road, which inevitably leads to a higher number of crashes. This is especially true at the start of the winter season, when seasonal riders and residents first begin to arrive. While many Florida motorists are used to watching for motorcyclists, drivers from up north tend to be less inclined, especially when they first arrive.

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December 24, 2014

Daytona Drunk Driving Increases Amid Christmas, New Year's Revelry

It's easy to be swept up in the merry holiday revelry - the lights, the gifts, the food and, of course, the drinks. christmaswine.jpg

All this unfortunately leads to an increased number of drunk driving accidents in Florida and across the U.S. Local law enforcement has responded by initiating their "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaigns, hoping to thwart those who drive impaired during the holidays.

Best case scenario for drunk drivers is a misdemeanor conviction. That's assuming they don't cause a crash. In the worse case scenario, they seriously injure or kill themselves or someone else.

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December 21, 2014

Be Alert for Signs of Daytona Nursing Home Abuse During Holiday Visits

For many nursing home residents, the holidays are a special time because it often means an extended visit from family and friends whom they might not regularly see.
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But in addition to catching up, loved ones should also be mindful to watch for any red flags that may indicate neglect, abuse or negligence involving their loved one. A federal study released in July found 30 percent of nursing homes were cited for nearly 9,000 instances of abuse over a two-year period. That meant 1 in 3 homes were found to have issues with untreated bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, inadequate medical care, inadequate hygiene and sanitation - and those are only discovered instances.

It's disheartening to think of how many other instances go unreported, often because patients can't speak for themselves or fear reprisal if they do. While bearing in mind facilities know there will be an increase of visitors in the month of December - and will likely put their best foot forward during this time - family members need to be alert to anything that seems amiss.

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