Articles Posted in Auto Safety

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One of the first things our Plantation injury lawyers are asked by new or prospective clients is, “What is my injury case worth?” That is actually a pretty complex question, but we may be able to give a ballpark estimate fairly early on. What you should absolutely avoid, though, are accepting any personal injury settlement offers without discussing it first with your attorney. That’s because it’s very common for injury case defendants and insurers to toss out Florida personal injury settlement offers that may seem like a lot at first blush, but in fact are much lower than to what you might actually be entitled. 

Personal injury settlement offers are made by defendants (or more likely, the insurance companies representing those defendants) or plaintiffs in order to settle the case prior to a trial. Civil injury trials are time-consuming and expensive, and both sides have an interest in avoiding them if at all possible. That doesn’t mean Plantation injury lawyers should be quick to settle. We recognize that often the first offer made by insurers is not the best and final offer. Your lawyer should have a strong sense of how much your claim is worth as well as the tactics often employed by defendants in these cases.

This is especially important because of provisions of Florida law that penalize parties who reject reasonable personal injury settlement offers and end up with virtually the same or worse outcome at trial.

Florida Personal Injury Settlement Offer Statute Continue reading →

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The Goodyear G159 has been referred to in some media reports as “the worst tire made in history,” involved in as many as 98 crash deaths caused by tire problems. They are the subject of dozens of injury and wrongful death lawsuits and currently the focus of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – despite never being recalled.

In fact, according to a number of those lawsuits, the company has sought deliberately to conceal just how dangerous the tires were.

In one such case, a man packed up his family into their luxury motorhome in 2003, for aFlorida Disney World getaway, complete with his wife, adult son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. However, on the return trip home to Alabama, on I-75 in Georgia, the treads on the left front Goodyear tire began to come off. The driver struggled to keep control, but the RV crossed the median and plowed into an embankment. The vehicle, nearly 40 feet long, hit a direction sign, slid across the rest area entrance and hit a second embankment before stopping. The two women suffered broken backs. His son broke his hip. The driver was paralyzed but died months later of complications from crash-related injuries. Continue reading →

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Nearly 2,800 commercial vehicle crashes were reported in Orange County, Florida in 2016 – a nearly 10 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Truck crashes like these wreak havoc on our roads, and cost hundreds of lives and thousands of serious injuries in Florida alone. Orange County tallied nearly 600 commercial vehicle accident injuries and 20 deaths just in a single year alone. 

All of this makes the recent report from The Drive all the more troubling. The report indicates that a commercial driver licensing school in Florida (with locations in both Miami and Labelle) reportedly was severed from its contract with the FHSMV after it reportedly engaged in conduct that posed an immediate, serious danger to public safety and welfare. Specifically, the school allegedly left out key parts of the required three-part skill test that it gave to students, and further tweaked testing data it provided on CDL skill test score sheets. Once officials form the state began sitting in on classes and the testing process, the scores plummeted from a 60 percent pass rate to just 11 percent.

In addition to cutting off ties with the school, the state agency has informed some 1,500 licensed truckers in the state who received their licensing through the facility that they have just two months to redo their tests – and pass them – if they hope to hang on to their commercial licenses.  Continue reading →

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People who are injured as a result of a defective vehicle (or vehicle part) may have grounds on which to assert a successful product liability claim.

This has become an increasingly common plaintiff strategy in recent years, in large part because so many auto manufacturers have been shown to make, market and sell dangerous cars or defective parts. In some cases, motor vehicle industry executives know about the danger their products pose as sold, but do nothing to warn the public of those perils until regulators force their hand.

Most recently, we’ve seen this with the faulty Takata airbags, the dangerous GM ignition switches and Toyota’s rapid and uncontrolled acceleration issues. Each of these problems has led to a host of lawsuits, many of which are still pending.

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We’ve got to keep an eye on the elderly drivers in our family and now that concern has prompted the proposal of an additional new-car rating from officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To help keep older drivers safer behind the wheel, advocates are proposing a new safety rating for older drivers. It’s the “silver” rating and it’s going to be used to assess the safety and accessibility of vehicles for senior citizens, according to The Washington Post.

Our Broward car accident lawyers understand that users would still access the current 5-star rating — in existence now since 1978. There will just be more features and ratings available. And this is especially important when we’re looking at older driver. We understand that it’s just the test of time. With age comes deteriorating senses. We’re slowly seeing a decline in our sight, hearing and flexibility. It’s a fact of life, but we have to learn how to embrace it by making sure we’re safe at all times.

So where have all these older drivers come from? According to researchers, it’s all a part of the “silver tsunami.” We’re referring to the tidal wave of older baby boomers now hitting the doors to retirement. As a matter of fact, the AARP reports that less than 20 percent of all licensed drivers in the country are currently 65 and older. But that’s a number that’s going to get much bigger in the near future. Data shows that there is going to be well over 55 million elderly drivers on our roadways in 2030, compared to less than 40 million today.

So why the silver rating? Older riders are more likely to be injured or killed in the event of an auto collision. With age, our bodies are frailer and more susceptible to injury. This is why it’s so important that we’re all equipped with a vehicle that fits us and meets our needs. With this new rating, elderly drivers will be able to choose a vehicle that’s safe for them.

The only worry there is that vehicles will be stereotyped and the ratings will backfire. No one wants to be caught in an “old person car.”

But what are these features that can benefit our aging drivers? There’s easy-grip steering wheels, push button start systems and even automatic seat belts. And with each feature, we’re helping to decrease their risks for injury or death in the event of an accident.

And that’s a pretty serious deal, considering there were 5,401 people age 65 and older were killed and 185,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2011. According to the NHTSA’s latest statistics, 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States were among people age 65 and older. In the state of Florida, there were close to 450 traffic fatalities among those over the age of 54 in 2011.
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One Fort Lauderdale pedestrian is counting his blessings today, as he escaped death from a two-car accident. According to the Sun Sentinel, it was all caught on the intersection’s red-light camera.

The accident happened at roughly 5:00 p.m. at the intersection of State Road 84 and South Federal Highway. According to the company that provides the intersection cameras, the footage was released to show officers just how beneficial the equipment can be when investigating accidents.

But does the good outweigh the bad? Our Lake Worth car accident lawyers understand that these red-light cameras have been in question for quite some time now. Some believe that they’re helping to make our roadways safer, while others argue that they’re only increasing the risks for intersection accidents. The truth of the matter is that red light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each and every year. In 2011, there were more than 700 people who were killed and another 120,000 who were injured in these kinds of accidents. About half of these fatalities were bicyclists, pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles.

While these cameras help to stop red-light runners, they’re also increasing the risks for a rear-end accident. Drivers are quick to stop at intersections now in fear of getting a traffic citation. But the problem here is that they’re stopping short and we’re seeing more rear-end accidents.

Wondering where the red-light cameras are in the state of Florida? Check the Photo Enforced website for all the details.

A study released this year by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) found that the number of accidents declined at intersections with red-light cameras in 41 jurisdictions – but increased in more than 10. When you break it all down, the number of T-bone accidents are declining, but the number of rear-end accidents are increasing.

According to Florida Today, many believe that these cameras are only installed to help reel revenue for the government. It’s true, there’s a lot of money to be made with these cameras.

More than 2 million police-reported traffic accidents happened near an intersection in the U.S. in 2009. These accidents account for more than 40 percent of all reported accidents for the year. These accidents resulted in more than 81,000 serious injuries and close to 7,500 fatalities.

It’s not about running a red light, or skidding to a stop to avoid a red-light ticket. It’s about entering intersections with the safest intentions. There’s a lot going on in these areas and you’ve got to be on the lookout. Beware of traffic coming in other directions. Expect the unexpected. You can’t rely on the safe driving habits of others at these points of traffic conflict. Make a proactive effort to pass through these crossroads as safely as possible, abiding by all traffic devices.
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Four major automobile manufacturers have issued a recall on nearly 3.5 million vehicles sold worldwide – including in the U.S. – due the fact that the passenger airbags pose an injury risk.

Our Weston injury lawyers understand that this is in fact the largest-ever recall involving airbags. In all cases, the airbags were produced by a company called Takata, which is the world’s second-biggest supplier of both airbags and seat belts.

Many auto manufacturers these days end up using similar or common vehicle parts in order to reduce their costs. However, that means that when there is a recall on one of these parts, many different companies are affected. This may save the companies money, but it presents a huge risk to public safety.

This recall is the largest since Toyota – which has gained a reputation over the last several years as a serial recaller – issued one in October for 7 million vehicles over a defective power window switch. Prior to that, the company had to pull some 19 million vehicles across the globe between 2009 and 2011, due to problems with unintended acceleration.

The car makers – Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan – report there are no injuries or deaths reported due to these defective airbags, which allegedly have the potential to catch fire.

Airbags are credited with saving countless lives by rapidly inflating and cushioning the blow in the event of a crash. But in the U.S., rules changed back in the late 1990s, to require a reduction of force deployment, because numerous injuries were caused by those early models due to the intense impact of rapid inflation.

In this case, the airbags that are situated in the front passenger seat may fail to properly inflate. The propellant used in the inflator, the company said, is defective. So not only is there the airbag not working and a fire being sparked, but passengers may also be hurt by metal fragments that might either shoot up toward the windshield or down into the passenger well area.

The vehicles include popular models such as the Toyota Corolla and Camry, the Honda Civic and the Nissan Maxima. All were produced between 2000 and 2003.

The airbag manufacturer said it learned of the problem following two crashes with similar airbag issues – one in Japan and one in Puerto Rico. Those were back in late 2011. The company tried to replicate the issue, but had no success. The following fall, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported three more faulty airbag incidents occurred – one in Maryland and two more in Puerto Rico.

It wasn’t until October of 2012 – one full year after it first learned of potential problems – that Takata conceded the propellant used in the airbags may have been improperly compressed, which could be the root of the problems. A few months later, it also found that certain parts made at a plant in Mexico had been exposed to natural elements during production that could weaken effectiveness.

This company produced the 2.8 million Honda driver-side airbags that had to be recalled in model years 2008 through 2011.

The company also produced some 8 million seat belts that had to be recalled back in 1995.
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In March, CBS reported that six people were inside of a van near Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport when a hit-and-run accident occurred. The accident happened on the southbound return loop at the airport and the six people in the van suffered minor injuries as a result.

Our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys know that rollover accidents often cause serious injury or result in death. A rollover crash involves the vehicle turning upside down and those inside of the car could be hurt in a number of different ways including suffering serious brain injury as the car tumbles. The six drivers in the Fort Lauderdale rollover accident were lucky that their injuries were relatively minor, as not everyone involved in a rollover crash manages to walk away from the accident. There are, however, some things that you can do in order to try to avoid a rollover accident and to keep yourself safe if one does occur.

Tips for Staying Safe to Avoid Rollover Accident Dangers
In order to avoid becoming hurt in a rollover accident, you should:

  • Ensure that the driver and every passenger in the car is wearing a seatbelt. The seatbelt will keep you in your seat even as the car tips over instead of flying around he car and potentially striking your head very hard as a result.
  • Make sure that your car is not overweight or overloaded. If your car weighs a lot, and especially if it is a top-heavy car to begin with, you significantly increase the chances of a serious auto accident occurring that results in the vehicle rolling over. Manufacturers will have load ratings for pickup trucks and other vehicles designed for moving or hauling and you should stay within those ratings.
  • Avoid speeding. If you are going too fast, there is a greater chance that your car is going to roll over. As many as 40 percent of all roll over accidents can be attributed to a driver going too quickly.
  • Monitor your tire pressure. You should check the pressure in your tires at least one time each month. Low pressure can up the chances of a rollover accident occurring.
  • Don’t overcorrect. When you panic as you are driving and encounter an obstacle or a potential danger, then you may be likely to turn the wheel too hard and overcorrect. This can result in your car rolling over, especially if you were driving quickly at the time.
  • Choose a safe, new vehicle. Many newer vehicles have Electronic Stability Controls and/or are designed in a way that is specifically designed to prevent rollover. An older car may not have the same safety features and may be more likely to tip in the event of an accident.

By following these tips, you should hopefully be able to avoid becoming involved in a rollover crash. If you do get involved in such an accident and are hurt, you may be able to hold the car manufacturer liable or you may be able to hold the driver responsible for the crash liable. In some cases, both may be to blame.
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While summer undoubtedly claims the top spot for teen driver crash rates, snowbird season in Florida means the winter months find our roadways a chaotic mix of slower senior motorists, tourists unfamiliar with the area and newly-licensed youth.

Our Royal Palm Beach injury lawyers know that simply having an influx of some 1 million people for three to six months out of the year is inevitably going to increase the number of accidents. What’s more, the state’s tourism industry reportedly drew nearly 90 million visitors to the state in 2011, many of them visiting during the winter, when the northern states are battling cold weather.

While older folks do tend to have more troubles with vision and reaction time, they also are generally more cautious. And tourists of course need to use every precaution to map their routes before heading out, check the weather reports and understand that just because they’re on vacation doesn’t mean the regular rules of the road don’t apply.

But often, it comes down to teens – the group with the highest fatal crash numbers in the country. It’s incumbent upon parents to drive home to their teens the importance of remaining alert, unimpaired and careful each and every time they pick up the keys and walk out the door.

A recent accident in Lake Worth involving a car full of teens resulted in one death and three serious injuries requiring hospitalization. While the details are still being sorted by authorities, we do know that the 18-year-old driver reportedly drifted off the roadway, sideswiped a tree and then slammed into a second tree, causing two passengers to be ejected from the vehicle. Tragically, a 19-year-old boy died at the scene.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teenagers are four times as likely to be involved in a traffic accident when compared to adult drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are in fact the leading cause of death for teenagers, each year claiming about 5,600 lives of those between the ages of 16 and 20. Many more are injured, as some 800,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 were involved in traffic crashes in 2008.

Perhaps even more troubling is that even when you factor in inexperience, the vast majority of these wrecks are preventable.

We recognize that parents can’t be there to monitor their teen driver’s every move. However, creating a system of accountability early on can make a huge difference in not only keeping them safe now, but also establishing a foundation for better habits as they grow older. In fact, studies have shown that parental interest and involvement when their teen is first learning to drive plays a huge role in reducing the chances of a future crash.

We understand parents these days are incredibly busy, but this is one investment of your time that can make all the difference. The main points you want to drive home are these:
–Always remain alert to your environment, including the weather, unsafe drivers nearby and hazards on the roadway.
–Part of this means no distractions – no phone, no make-up, no eating, no chatting with friends.
–Never ever drive when you have consumed alcohol or drugs or when you may be too tired. Let them know you will always come and get them if need be.
–Keep your emotions in check behind the wheel. Pull over if you need a minute to compose yourself.
–Recognize when the weather or some other factor requires that you pull over.
–Never try to show off or take any intentional risk while you’re driving.
–Have respect for everyone else on the road, including other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
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It wasn’t a safe year for motor vehicles here in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 700 safety recalls filed in the country that affected close to 20 million vehicles, vehicle equipment and child car seats.

The NHTSA was there along the way, helping to identify defects that weren’t reported by manufacturers. The agency identified close to 10 million vehicles and close to 100,000 items of vehicle equipment, including child safety seats and tires, that were recalled for defects.

“Every day millions of motorists are safe on our nation’s roadways because of the work and dedication of our defect investigation and compliance teams here at NHTSA,” said Ray Lahood with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Our Jupiter car accident attorneys understand that staying up to date with recalls is critical in ensuring your safety out there on our roadways. One of the best way that consumers can do this is by visiting On this federal website, you can specifically look up the vehicles in your household or you can browse a list of the latest recalls. You can also sign up for Recall Alerts to get the information sent directly to you as it’s released.

Officials with the NHTSA’a Office of Defects Investigation as well as the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance look for these kinds of recalls. They’re constantly reviewing information to find potential safety defect trends. Some of these sources include fan sites, bulletin boards, auto websites, early reporting data, consumer complaints, popular magazines, trade publications and even technical service bulletins.

Throughout the last 3 years, officials with the NHTSA have been able to release more than 400 recalls, involving more than 20 million vehicles and products.

The NHTSA wants to thank you! In 2012, there were close to 42,000 consumer complaints reported to the Administration regarding potential safety defects. There were close to 49,500 reported in 2011 and more than 65,000 reported in 2010.

Since beginning in 1966, the NHTSA has been holding automakers accountable for their designs. Unfortunately, there are some that slip through the cracks and endanger motorists. Since the beginning, there have been more than 15,000 recalls including more than 500 million vehicles and 85 million items of equipment.

Still, there were many vehicles that were left on our roadways even after these defects were announced. Automakers don’t always do their job in notifying their customers about these problems. You may even remember the Toyota recalls. Toyota ended up owing more than $1 billion over hundreds of lawsuits because the acceleration problems they were having were not properly disclosed in a timely fashion.

If you know of any safety issues that you’re having, you’re urged to make a report. You can File a Complaint with, too. Just visit the site and drop a line. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the latest recalls. Knowing about a problem and taking the proper steps to correct it can keep you safer in the event of an accident.
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