The safety of beach goers is in question after a visiting sunbather experienced a serious injury in Fort Lauderdale. The beach accident happened when a government beach vehicle drove right over the sunbather on the sandy coast as she lay there soaking in the bright Florida sun, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Critics of these beach vehicles say that the pickups and SUVs are extremely dangerous to sunbathers because they provide a limited view of the surroundings to the driver. Still, these vehicles are allowed to drive on our beaches. Oftentimes the drivers of these vehicles can’t even see what’s on the sand that is right in front of their vehicle. Safety advocates have been saying for years that these officials should be using ATVs instead.
Our Fort Lauderdale beach accident attorneys understand that there are some that fight for these pickups and SUVs saying that they’re effective at saving lives because lifeguards can use them to carry individuals quicker in the event of an emergency. They also say that they’re better equipped to carry emergency response equipment like first-aid kits, defibrillators and backboards. What many don’t realize is that there is increased risk of causing an emergency.
“The people who are going to require that kind of [medical attention]…they want you to have all that equipment,” said Tom Gill, with the United States Lifesaving Association.
The accident happened when the 49-year-old tourist from North Carolina was laying on the beach trying to work on her tan. An Ocean Rescue pickup just drove right over her. Reports indicate that she was bruised and cut up.
According to Jack Seiler, the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, the city will more than likely look into adjusting the current rules and look into the need of these vehicles to be driven on the beach. He says that they will be evaluating the policy, but are going to continue to make sure that beach goers have the best possible experience on our South Florida beaches.
The driver of the pickup was a veteran Ocean Rescue lieutenant. He has been placed on administrative leave until the Fire-Rescue Department conducts an internal review of the accident.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. There have also been similar accidents that have happened in Volusia County and Miami Beach.
A spokesman for the United States Lifesaving Association says that lifeguards are trained to survey the area before getting behind the wheel and driving down our beaches. They’re also instructed to only make left turns to avoid an obstructed view.
If you or someone who is close has been injured or killed in a Fort Lauderdale accident on the beach, contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call today to set up a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call 1-800-561-7777.
Fort Lauderdale sunbather accident to prompt review of beach-driving policy, by Juan Ortega, Sun Sentinel
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