Articles Posted in Truck Accident

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last month regarding the results of two recent studies on impaired driving in the U.S. The NHTSA reports even though drunk driving has declined, drug use behind the wheel has increased across the nation.

3926259585_5f265f6683_zDrunk driving has been very high on the list of national motor vehicle safety issues for the past couple of decades. Due to nationwide safety campaigns and high-visibility law enforcement patrols, drunk driving has decreased in the U.S. And while this is great news to drivers in Florida as well as the rest of the country, it is important to point out that there is an increase in impaired driving involving illegal and legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs across the U.S. From cold medicine to marijuana, driving under the influence of drugs is very dangerous and places all roadway users in danger of serious injury or death.

Impaired Driving Statistics

  • The number of drivers with alcohol in their systems has declined by nearly one-third since 2007.
  • The number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by three-quarters since 1973.
  • The number of drivers on weekends during the nighttime hours with evidence of drugs in their system increased from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014.
  • The number of drivers with marijuana in their system climbed by almost 50 percent.
  • In a 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their abilities to safely navigate behind the wheel.

While driving under the influence of legally prescribed and purchased over-the-counter medications is not widely publicized as impaired driving, you should know that there are dangers of taking these medications and driving. In fact, any medications or drugs that can impact your ability to drive safely pose a threat to yourself and others should you choose to get behind the wheel of a car. Drowsiness and fatigue are a common side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter meds, and falling asleep at the wheel could prove lethal. If you are taking a medication that makes you tired or sleepy, you shouldn’t be operating a vehicle.

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If you have survived a car accident, you are probably feeling hurt, scared and confused. It can be difficult trying to move on from this stressful time when no one completely understands your physical pain or emotional suffering.

You are not alone when it comes to surviving an auto accident. In fact, the latest research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that:175119264_e5ab911826_z

  • Combined, car accident victims in the United States spend about one million days in the hospital each year.

This Sunday the wait is officially over – the Superbowl is here! Football fans across the country have already started preparing to watch and celebrate Sunday’s Super Bowl with friends and family. Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are encouraging NFL fans to enjoy the game responsibly and designate a driver if they intend to drink.

Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or out watching the game with friends, remember that fans don’t let fans drive drunk. It should always be to priority to get home safely.

In 2013, there was one death every 52 minutes across the country due to drunk drivers, according to the NHTSA. That breaks down to 10,076 people killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. More than half of those fatalities, 56 percent to be exact, happened during weekends (Friday 6 p.m. to Monday 5:59 a.m.)

16165977478_fa0a3fc559_zThe NHTSA, NFL and the Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management Coalition have joined forces with local highway safety and law enforcement officials to remind everyone about the national campaign, “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.” If you are hosting a party, watching the game at a bar or restaurant or even attending the game, always make sure you have a sober ride home before choosing to drink.

If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a bar or restaurant:

  • Select a sober driver or plan another way to get home safely before you start partaking in Super Bowl festivities.
  • You can even use the NHTSA’s new SaferRide mobile app. This app helps people who have been drinking get a safe ride home by identifying their location so they can be picked up. You can get the app for Android devices on Google Play and Apple devices on the iTunes store.
  • Do not let friends drive if they have had too much to drink.
  • When you are on the road, always buckle up – this is always your best defense against drunk drivers.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:

  • Remember, you can be held liable if someone you served at your soiree ends up in a drunk driving collision.
  • Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the game’s third quarter.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies on hand, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink. Offer your couch to friends and family if need be.

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A man suspected of being impaired while allegedly crawling across U.S. 19 was hit by two vehicles and killed Tuesday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Shortly before 9 p.m., a 32-year-old man from Turnersville, N.C., was allegedly crawling on his hands and knees east across U.S. 19 south of Cornflower Drive. Troopers believe he moved into the path of traffic and was struck first by a Dodge Ram pickup truck and then a motorhome.

The pedestrian died at the scene of the crash.

5830622919_3f28af36d4_zOne of the vehicles involved in the accident had a passenger. That passenger and the two drivers were not harmed.

According to police, no charges were filed.

Darkness has been identified as a factor in many pedestrian crashes. In addition, alcohol impairment has the ability to affect how a person perceives a vehicle’s speed and distance, as well as the time needed to get out of harm’s way. This combination of hazards makes walking while drunk very dangerous on Citrus County roads and streets.

The state of Florida has a high rate of pedestrian deaths each year. What is important to note about these deaths is that those who are hit by cars may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries. Drivers are responsible for exercising reasonable care on roadways and keeping a close lookout for pedestrians. A motorist that breaches that duty can still be held liable when the pedestrian was drunk. A Citrus County Auto Accident Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you and your family understand all of your available legal options.

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Motor vehicle crash injuries sent more than 2.5 million Americans to emergency rooms in 2012, according to a recent report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.

The report also shows that nearly 200,000 were hospitalized due to motor vehicle accidents.

This breaks down to about 7,000 people being admitted to emergency departments every day in 2012 due to car accidents.

5232864614_0690efa011_mThe lifetime medical expenses for those crash injuries totaled $18 billion. That number includes $10 billion for those admitted to hospitals and $8 billion for patients treated in ERs and released, according to the Oct. 7 Vital Signs report by the CDC.

The report also found that work lost over a lifetime due to auto crash-related injuries in 2012 cost around $33 billion.

The average total cost of each auto accident-related ER visit was $3,300, and $57,000 for each hospitalization. The report adds that more than 75 percent of costs occur during the first 18 months after the injury.

Teens and young adults, between the ages of 15 and 29, have a much higher risk for motor vehicle-related injuries and accounted for nearly 1 million of such injuries in 2012, or 38 percent.  People over the age of 80 had the highest hospitalization rates. One-third of those over the age of 80 injured in car crashes ended up hospitalized, according to the report.

Not all the news in this report was bad. In fact, there were nearly 400,000 fewer ER visits and 5,700 fewer hospitalizations for crash-related injuries in 2012 than in 2002. This translates to nearly $1.7 billion less in lifetime medical costs and $2.3 billion less in lifetime lost work costs.

Many collisions in Citrus County and the surrounding areas are caused by driver carelessness and recklessness, including speeding and distracted driving. Moreover, the frequency of drunk driving and cell phone use, including texting while driving, have reached serious levels.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new Car Seat Finder Tool, giving users the ability to look up car seat recalls on its mobile app, while also reminding parents and caregivers to register their child’s car seat through its new campaign entitled – “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today.”

NHTSA’s new Car Seat Finder Tool is targeted towards helping parents choose the right car seat or booster seat for their child. The campaign urges everyone to realize the importance of registering car seats in order to receive important safety recall notifications. While this may seem shocking, every 34 seconds a child under the age of 13 is involved in an auto accident, and more than a third of children killed in these crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.

125486076_5dc1245ba9_mNHTSA pushed manufacturers to recall seats with defective buckles in 2014 to ensure owners received a replacement buckle at no cost. Because of this effort, more than 7.4 million car seats have been recalled. However, on average, only 40 percent of people get their car seat fixed.

That’s where NHTSA’s “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today” campaign comes into play, urging caregivers to register their car seat so manufacturers know how to notify them of a recall and how to receive the free fix. NHTSA’s Parent Central site allows parents and caregivers to find their manufacturer or brand of car seat so that they can be directly linked to the manufacturer’s registration page.

In addition, the NHTSA also offers parents and caregivers the following safety tips:

  • Go to NHTSA’s Car Seat Finder Tool and find the right seat for your child based on age and size
  • Always read the instructions and labels that come with your child’s car seat as well as the vehicle owner’s manual to find important information regarding the installation of the seat in your specific vehicle
  • Do not forget to register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer so that you can get up to date safety recall notifications as they happen
  • Should your child’s car seat become recalled, contact the manufacturer and follow their instructions on how to get it fixed for free
  • Make sure that all children under 13 years are seated and properly restrained in the back seat of your vehicle at all times
  • Set a good example for all children in your car and always wear your seat belt. It is more common to see unrestrained children in a car with unbuckled drivers, so keep that in mind when travelling any distance.

NHTSA’s Safercar mobile app can be downloaded for Apple devices and Android devices.

Regardless of the size or type of vehicle you have, the age of your child or the duration of your car trip, children should always be properly restrained. When properly installed and used, car seats, booster seats and seat belts can save lives.

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Labor Day weekend is not just the unofficial end of summer, it is statistically one of the most dangerous times to be on the roadways as a high number of traffic fatalities usually occur during this holiday period. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that we could see 405 fatalities across the United States this Labor Day weekend.

4962604100_280e82ab6f_mThe Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your family to be safe this Labor Day weekend, so we have put together the following driving tips to hopefully make your Labor Day excursions a safe and enjoyable experience.

Preparation is Key

Before getting behind the wheel, make sure all of the fluids in your car are replenished, your tires are in good condition and that your brakes are working properly. It is always a good idea to keep an emergency kit tucked away in your vehicle with a tire gauge, jumper cables, a flashlight and a tool kit should something go awry. With that said, bringing along a first-aid kit with emergency supplies like water, food, bandages and blanket is always a good idea.

Refrain from Drinking & Driving

While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is not out of the ordinary to see drunk drivers on the roadway. Every Labor Day weekend people die due to alcohol-related auto accidents. If you are going to consume alcohol this holiday, make arrangements for a designated driver or an alternative way to get home before you set off for  your destination.

Wear Your Seatbelt At All Times

The NSC estimates that as many as 148 deaths could be avoided this weekend if people wear their seatbelts. No matter how short or far the distance, buckle up when in the car! Make sure that children are in safety seats appropriate for their size and that they are fastened in.

Don’t Drive Tired or Distracted

Driving fatigued or distracted can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. If you are feeling sleepy or are having trouble keeping your focus on the road, pass the wheel to someone else or postpone your trip back. Listen to your body and know your limits.  Sometimes pulling over at a rest stop, even if just for a few minutes, can help you make it back safely. Avoid using a cell phone, GPS or any other devices that could possibly pose a threat to your driving.

Avoid Peak Hours

If at all possible, plan your return trip for when the roads are not so busy and congested. Peak traffic hours tend to be in the late afternoon or early evening, so think about getting on the road before 4 p.m. or after 10 p.m.

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One Citrus County student was taken to a local hospital for observation Friday morning after a truck rammed into the back of a school bus.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, a truck crashed into the back of the bus on Cardinal Street at South Rudolph Point in Homosassa.

Troopers believe the driver came up over a crest in a hill too fast and was distracted by looking at his radio while going downhill.

1368677930_4782ba6963_mThe bus was carrying 34 students heading to Lecanto Primary School.

Officials do not believe there were any injuries, but the one student was taken by ambulance to Oak Hill Hospital to be looked at by a doctor.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the truck driver was arrested for multiple driver’s license suspensions and cited for careless driving.

Careless driving simply means that a driver is improperly driving, thus creating a dangerous scenario for those sharing the roadway and increasing the chances of a collision.

Some types of driving behaviors that may be considered careless driving include:

  • Tailgating
  • Failing to Yield
  • Running a Red Light
  • Running a Stop Sign
  • Speeding
  • Improper Lane Change
  • Failing to Stop for an Emergency Vehicle
  • Making in Illegal or Improper Turn

While some of these actions are driving violations, many drivers fail to realize that they are putting others in danger when they speed, swerve in and out of their lane or do not remain at a safe distance behind another automobile.

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The National Safety Council publishes a report called Injury Facts every year that gathers safety data from across the United States. This year’s report, released at the end of March,  showed some startling trends. The data, which looks at up to and including the year 2012, indicates that Americans face many safety hazards where they may not expect them.

texting driverCell phone use among drivers is still a serious risk, despite increasingly strict traffic laws. The NSC report shows that cell phones play a role in 26 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, which is an increase from the previous year. Of these accidents, nearly 5 percent involved texting and another 21 percent involved the use of hands-free or handheld phones while driving. While car accidents are still the leading cause of deaths amongst teens, the number of teens killed in crashes has decreased. In 2012, the highest rate of auto accidents occurred in July, while the lowest rate occurred in February. Furthermore, the three days surrounding New Year’s Day revealed the highest rate of alcohol-related collisions.

According to the NSC, poisonings were the leading cause of death in 18 states. This includes cases of accidental poisoning due to prescription painkiller overdoses. The state of Florida ranks 10th highest in the country for drug poisoning deaths involving painkiller overdoses.

Fall injuries among senior citizens across the U.S. are also on the rise. The NSC report concludes that the number of falls  has increased 112 percent since 1999. Unintentional injuries, including falls,  are costing more than $790 billion annually across the U.S.

In regards to workplace injuries, harm suffered to the head or central nervous system are the most costly workers’ compensation claims.

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With the legalization of marijuana gaining momentum across the United States, a new study suggests that the common use of marijuana can have negative outcomes.

Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health report that fatal car crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, accounting for much of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths.

jointReports indicate that one out of nine drivers involved in fatal collisions would test positive for marijuana – a trend that if continued would overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.

This study was performed  using crash statistics from six states, including California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Researchers found that “drugged driving,” predominantly from marijuana, increased from 16 percent of fatal traffic deaths in 1999 to 28 percent in 2010.

What is noteworthy about the study too, is that there are many drivers who drive under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana at the same time. The study concluded that when a motorist drives under the influence of alcohol, the risk of a fatal crash is 13 times greater than a sober driver. However, when a motorist gets behind the wheel under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, the risk increases to 24 times that of someone sober.

It is important to take into account that driving after using any drug, including marijuana, is similar to consuming alcohol and then driving. Both marijuana and alcohol are drugs that have the ability to impair one’s capability of driving safely by slowing down reaction times and hindering judgments. Drugs and alcohol alike affect vision, making drivers more easily distracted, as well as creating amplified risky behavior in drivers.

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