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March 31, 2015

Distracted Mom Driver Strikes Three Teen Girls in Crosswalk

A 23-year-old new mother is facing felony charges of third-degree assault, reckless endangering and reckless driving. Authorities say her distraction behind the wheel - in particular, filming her infant son in the back seat with her cell phone while driving - resulted in a crash that seriously injured three teen pedestrians in a crosswalk.
According to the probable cause affidavit, authorities combed through the driver's cell phone after the January crash and discovered not only had the woman sent numerous text messages in the minutes prior to the crash, she then used her phone to record a 20-second video of her son. In the video, police say she is holding the phone with one hand and making gestures with the other - but the vehicle is in motion, meaning she had no hands on the steering wheel.

It was later ascertained the woman struck the three teen girls in the crosswalk less than two seconds after the video ended.

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March 27, 2015

Florida Child Drownings & Premises Liability

In recent weeks, there have been a number of near-drownings of children throughout Florida.pool2.jpg

Drowning is a leading cause of death for children under 5 in Florida. We lose more children to drowning than any other state. In fact, so many children in this state perish from drowning each year, their numbers could fill three to four preschool classrooms.

In some cases, these incidents are simply tragic accidents. In other instances, it is the negligence of one or more persons, property owners or businesses that played a role in allowing these horrible accidents to occur.

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March 21, 2015

March is Florida Bicycle Month, State's Poor Track Record Underscored

A 57-year-old man was critically injured in a Daytona Beach bicycle accident that occurred when he was struck by a vehicle while traveling on Silver Beach Avenue.
Authorities say he suffered severe head injuries after he was hit by a 21-year-old driver. She later told police the bicyclist crossed the street directly in front of her without warning, causing the right front of her vehicle to hit the cyclist, sending him tumbling to the ground.

The cyclist reportedly fell on the back of his head and suffered a large cut on his head. His injuries have been characterized as life-threatening.

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March 12, 2015

Girl in Roadway Killed in Central Florida Car Accident

A 13-year-old girl was quarreling with her mother about the seating arrangement in the vehicle as they rode home in Central Florida. According to reports, the girl obstinately refused her mother's pleas to get back in the car, instead arguing with her from outside the car, in the roadway. She told her mother she was going to walk home.
A 25-year-old pizza delivery driver passed, saw the girl, her mother and the car, with other teens girls inside. He thought perhaps the car had broken down. It was dark and rainy. He finished his delivery and turned back around to see if they needed help. But by then, the girl was dead.

Authorities say a 20-year-old driver traveling the opposite direction struck the teen and her mother. The girl reportedly was killed instantly, while her mother suffered injuries.

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March 12, 2015

Daytona Bike Week Returns, Officials Urge Caution

As the Daytona Beach Bike Week promised to bring thousands of bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country, authorities were quick to urge caution - by everyone.
Authorities expect by week's end, approximately 500,000 bikers will have roared into town, generating some $75 million in revenue for the region.

The influx of visitors has always been welcomed in Daytona Beach. The biggest issue, however, is road safety. Yes, there are riders who fail to use caution or drive drunk or recklessly. Usually, however, the bigger problem is that other drivers fail to yield or use due caution.

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March 6, 2015

I-4 Construction Zone May Be Common Crash Site in Coming Months

The day before a massive, six-year construction project launched on Interstate-4 in Central Florida, a construction worker in Seminole County was struck and seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Although the crash didn't occur at the site of the I-4 Ultimate construction project, it did raise concerns about the safety of both workers and motorists in construction zones. The 23-year-old injured worker in this case was working a pavement striping project near the Winter Springs exit of I-4. He was hospitalized in serious condition.

While thick fog blanketed the area of the crash, authorities say motorists are given advance warning when they are approaching a construction zone. These notices typically include warning signs, flashing lights on work vehicles, construction zone cones and workers wearing reflective vests. There are also usually signs noting reduction of speed, intended to protect both motorists and workers.

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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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