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car accident attorney for Dade Broward and Palm Beach counties Archives | Osborne & Francis

Most Accidents are at Intersections Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Intersections are where accidents are most likely to happen, says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne, and most of them are caused by driver error.

You may fear an accident on the highway because of the speed and possible harm that could happen but statistically you’re most likely to get in an accident at an intersection, whether that’s around the block from your home or across the country while you’re on vacation. If you’re going through an intersection you should be especially alert says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

There were an estimated 2,307,000 vehicle accidents at intersections across the country in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They accounted for about 40% of the 5,811,000 crashes that occurred in the United States that year. An estimated 7,421 fatalities occurred at these accidents and in 733,000 crashes one or more vehicle occupants suffered injuries.

There are many potential dangers when two roads join together where pedestrians may try to cross. Actions by other drivers are the dangers you need to be most concerned about. NHTSA looked at intersection accident causes, what they called “critical reasons.” Of the 787,236 accidents in or near intersections in 2008, about 96% had critical reasons attributed to drivers, while vehicle or environment related critical reasons were to blame for less than 3% of accidents.

When a critical reason was a driver error,

  • About 41% of the critical reasons were recognition errors (due to not paying attention, internal and external distractions or not seeing something)
  • About 34% of the accident causes were decision errors by the driver (driving aggressively or too fast), and
  • 10% were performance errors (overcompensation, improper control).

One of those errors can be deciding to run a red light or driving too fast to stop in time to avoid going through the intersection on a red light. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) states that in 2014,

  • There were a total of 32,675 traffic accident related fatalities with 8,661 of them happening at intersections. An estimated 2,675 of those intersections had traffic lights.
  • There were 710 fatalities caused by a vehicle going through a red light at these intersections, 44 of them were pedestrians or bicyclists.

The FHA suggests that when you approach an intersection you,

  • Reduce speed,
  • Put your right foot over the brake to improve reaction time,
  • Look across and around the intersection ahead of you so can become aware of the surroundings,
  • Know where you want to go and which lane to use,
  • Look left, right and left again to check for oncoming traffic before crossing an intersection,
  • Use turn signals to show others where you’re going, and
  • Leave enough room in front of you so you won’t block the intersection if traffic stops.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident at or near an intersection, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Third Shift Drivers Are Dangerously Drowsy Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer

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Those driving home after the third shift may be too fatigued and drowsy to safely operate their vehicles says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Your morning commute is a dangerous time to drive. The biggest reason is the fact there are simply more vehicles on the road, more drivers and a greater chance someone will make a mistake. Another danger is drowsy drivers. In addition to drivers not getting enough sleep the night before there are those who didn’t sleep at all because they worked third shift. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne warns that many of those homeward bound in the morning should not be behind the wheel.

While most of us sleep others are performing critical functions that keep society going. They work in hospitals, law enforcement, at airports, utilities and road maintenance and construction. While we need this work to be done we don’t need more dangerous drivers on the road.

Sixteen third shift workers were accompanied on a test track by researchers to measure what problems, if any, they had safely driving both after getting some sleep at night and being deprived of sleep when they worked overnight. When necessary the observers intervened to avoid a collision. The study’s report, published last January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America, states,

  • Night shift workers have a high risk of drowsiness related motor vehicle accidents because their sleep is interrupted and restricted,
  • It’s been estimated a drowsy driver was involved in about 21% of fatal accidents and 13% of accidents resulting in severe injury from 2009 to 2013 in the U.S., and
  • Most drivers admit they drove while feeling drowsy and 28% reported falling asleep while driving within the past year.

The research findings include,

  • “We found a high risk of dangerous driving and near-crash events during actual driving by night-shift workers following overnight work, when physiological markers of drowsiness were significantly increased.”
  • These dangers increased as the drive got longer.
  • After a night shift drivers were more likely to drift out of their lane.
  • All of the near crashes (when observers intervened to stop the vehicle) and occasions when drivers had to pull over happened during the night shift drive home. None happened during the post sleep drives.
  • More than a third (37.5%) of those working overnight required an observer to stop or slow down the vehicle to avoid a crash to keep the participants and researchers safe, compared with no interventions for the post-sleep drivers.
  • Seven of the 16 third shift drives were stopped because the driver couldn’t maintain adequate control of the vehicle, compared with none of the drives by those who had slept.
  • “…(P)ostnight-shift drivers were much sleepier, and noticed increasing difficulty keeping their eyes open and maintaining lane position, particularly when driving for more than 15–30 min, which has been related to…lane drifting and severe driving impairment during simulated driving, and increased crash risk…”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver or one asleep at the wheel, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

The Most Dangerous Highways are in FL Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Two Florida highways are the most dangerous in the country according to federal statistics says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

You may drive on at least one of them frequently and according to the Auto Insurance Center, sponsored by a group of insurance companies, they are the most dangerous in the country: I-95 and I-10. I-95’s southern end starts in Miami and ends on the Canadian border in Maine while I-10 starts in Jacksonville and goes all the way to Santa Monica, California. They stretch across the country, says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne, but locally they can be very dangerous.

The Auto Insurance Center (AIC) looked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics and found that in 2014 I-10 was the scene of 278 deaths and I-95 was where 204 people died.

  • Florida’s 382-mile stretch of I-95 was the most dangerous road in the country, with the worst rate of fatal accidents, from 2004 to 2008 according to NHTSA reports the Sun Sentinel. Aggressive and distracted drivers along with heavy traffic congestion may have been to blame.
  • One of the problems with I-10 is that there are long stretches without barriers between those going in opposite directions. If a driver loses control of a vehicle and heads toward those coming the other way there’s nothing to prevent it.

Florida is not listed as one of the most dangerous or safest five states when it comes to fatal traffic accidents. Wyoming is listed as the worst with 25.7 traffic deaths per 100,000 population and New Jersey is the best at 6.2.

The AIC also has a number of other facts,

  • Motor vehicle crashes killed 32,675 people in the U.S. in 2014, which averages out to a fatality about every 16 minutes.
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol was a factor in at least 31% of the fatal crashes. The most frequent blood alcohol level was .22%, about 2.5 times higher than the legal limit in most states. Young drivers have the highest risk of being involved in an alcohol related fatality. For those people involved in fatal accidents in 2014, 30% of drivers with blood alcohol content levels of 0.08% or above were 21 to 24 years old.
  • More than 1,900 (or 6%) of traffic deaths involved drug use. When lab tests were done on drivers killed in accidents marijuana was present in 900 fatal vehicle crashes, almost half of the total. Other drugs found included cocaine (a factor in 241 fatalities), amphetamines (224 fatalities) and methamphetamine (212 fatalities).
  • Based on five years’ worth of data the most dangerous days of the year to drive are July 4, January 1, September 18, August 4 and August 27. Traffic accident deaths on those days are about five times the average.
  • The most dangerous time of day to drive is during the afternoon rush hour, between 5:00 and 6:00. Despite this the most dangerous day of the week happens when most of us don’t work, Saturday, with 5,317 deaths, followed by Friday with 4,658.
  • July and August are the most dangerous months each with more than 2,700 deaths. The month with the least fatalities is February with 1,917.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident on Florida’s highway system, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Opioid Use Causing More Fatal Crashes Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Many opioid users are too impaired to drive safely and are endangering themselves and others when they’re on the road says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Use of legal and illegal narcotics and opioid use has risen dramatically. Given this increase in use it should come as no surprise that drivers impaired by opioid use are causing more fatal traffic accidents says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Gov. Scott declared opioid use a public health emergency in May, reports NBC News.

  • Use of heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone caused the deaths of 3,896 Floridians in 2015, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics.
  • Palm Beach County morgues were filled to capacity with 525 fatal opioid overdoses last year.
  • Use of heroin combined with fentanyl or carfentanil caused 220 deaths in Miami-Dade County in 2016 and 90% of Broward County’s fatal drug overdoses involved heroin, fentanyl or other opioids.

About 92 million adults in the U.S. used prescription opioids in 2015 according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in August, reports USA Today.

  • Ninety-two million people is about the same as the population of Florida, New York, California and Illinois combined.
  • An estimated 12 million people (or about the same number as 60% of Florida’s population) misused prescription opioids by using them without a prescription, taking them more often than prescribed or for reasons other than what was intended by their physicians.
  • About two million Americans have an opioid use disorder. That’s defined as being unable to control or reduce opioid use, having social problems or being unable to fulfill family, work or school obligations because of opioid use.

For some opioid users it’s not the drug that’s the direct cause of their deaths, it’s the fatal injuries they suffer in vehicle accidents when they drive while impaired. Columbia University researchers reviewed drug testing results for 36,729 drivers in six states who died within an hour of being in a vehicle accident.

The percentage of drivers with prescription opioids found in their systems when they died increased from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015, according to a study published in July in the American Journal of Public Health.

  • The most common opioids were oxycodone, morphine and codeine.
  • Close to 70% of drivers testing positive for prescription opioids also tested positive for other drugs and 30% showed signs they were also drinking alcohol.

No matter what impairs a driver, whether that’s drug or alcohol use or fatigue, that driver is a hazard to him or herself and everyone else on the road. Driving while impaired increases the chances of an accident because drivers aren’t fully aware of what’s going on and their ability to make safe decisions decreases.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a driver impaired by drug use, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Merge Onto the Highway With Caution Urges Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Merge with care onto a highway to avoid a potentially serious accident says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s one of the most dangerous times on the highway. Someone is coming onto the highway from an on ramp but there are vehicles in the far right lane. Someone has to give or there will be a car accident. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says both those on the highway and those getting on it need to follow the laws, be courteous and be safe.

Lane changing and merging collisions were about 4% of all police-reported collisions in 1991 and were about 0.5% of all vehicle accident fatalities that year, according to a study by researchers from the Rutgers Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that 19,000 accidents happened when vehicles merged onto highways that year.

A merging vehicle must change lanes on a limited stretch of roadway while traveling close to or at highway speed. The driver must time the merge correctly so it can resolve an unsafe conflict with oncoming vehicles or there will be a collision.

Technically speaking Florida law doesn’t state which vehicle has the right of way though it states when one vehicle needs to yield to another. Those entering a highway from a secondary road need to yield to vehicles in the travel lanes.

Here are some suggestions on safe merging from AARP,

  • Prepare for merging while traveling on the on ramp. As you approach the highway look around you, in front of you (someone may be traveling at a slow speed or stopped in front of you), behind and to your right.
  • Do your best to check your blind spots to make sure you won’t be cutting someone off or colliding into them.
  • Be wary of motorcycles and take extra caution at night and in bad weather.
  • Use your turn signal to remind other drivers you want to get onto the highway.
  • Identify a safe gap that you can merge into.
  • Speed up to match the speeds of the other vehicles.
  • Don’t stop before merging unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Yield to highway traffic and move over when it’s safe to do so.
  • If you need to cross several highway lanes do so one at a time while using your turn signal.
  • Be aware of the length of the merge lane which can vary greatly.

Once you’re on the highway try to be courteous to drivers entering the highway by moving over if it’s safe to do so. This will make it easier for the other driver and reduce the risk of a collision with you.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident on the highway, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

School is Back in Session Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Accidents involving students are rare but they can change their lives and those of their families says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year if you’re a parent. The kids are finally out of the house and going to school. They will be getting there on foot, in a school bus or driving them there will become part of your morning routine again. No matter how they get there, they need to get to school and come home safely says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

School bus accidents are rare, according to USA Today, but they happen. It’s estimated that from 2004 to 2013 there were a total of 340,039 fatal vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those accidents 1,214, involved school transportation vehicles bringing students to or from school or some school related activity.

NHTSA states about 134 people are killed in school vehicle related accidents annually. About 8% are riding in the vehicles and pedestrians, bicyclists and others outside them count for about 21% of fatalities. Most of those killed are in other vehicles. NHTSA estimates that students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely riding in a school bus than in a passenger vehicle.

Like anyone else travelling on Florida’s roads students can be injured or killed by negligent drivers,

  • In Miami earlier this month several children were taken to a hospital after their school van rolled over after a collision, reports CBS Miami. They were coming home after their first day of school at Terra Environmental Research Institute, a school in Kendall. Police report the van was heading eastbound on 182nd Street when it was struck by a car going southbound on SW 105th Avenue. Six students and the car’s driver went to the hospital.
  • An accident involving a Sarasota County school bus and two other vehicles injured 16 people with eleven of them going to the hospital, according to WTSP. The bus carried a dozen students, an aide and the driver. Another vehicle tried to take a left turn and went into the path of the bus, hitting the front right side of the bus, pushing it into a traffic signal pole. The students were from a school for those with special needs. Of the eleven sent to the hospital, seven were students and four were adults. The driver of the car was cited by the Florida Highway Patrol for failing to yield the right of way according to WWSB.
  • A 12 year old boy was struck by a car while he was walking to school in Jacksonville in March, reports Action News Jax. He later died at a local hospital. Hunter Cope was one of three students crossing an intersection. The police report states Cope was in the crosswalk when the car went through the intersection on a yellow light. Police report they believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time. News4Jax reports the driver had ten citations on her driving record including five for speeding.

As important as it is to learn in school, it’s more important that children get to and from school safely. If your child has been injured in a car accident or as a pedestrian going to or coming home from school, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Insurance & Accident Cases Go Together Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Auto insurance pays for the harm done by an accident, including damage to a car or injuries to the people involved says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

If you’re injured in a car accident and file a lawsuit though the defendant is the other driver, it’s actually an insurance company who’s paying for the defense attorney and it would pay a settlement or court award. Personal injury law and insurance law are two sides of the same coin. In most of our cases the defendant has at least one insurance policy covering the accident.

Auto insurance covers the harm done in an accident. That harm can be to vehicles and property and also the harm done to people by injuries.

  • Collision coverage is for damage to your vehicle if you are at fault in an accident. This can be caused by hitting another vehicle or an object.
  • Property damage liability coverage pays for physical damage caused by at fault drivers to other vehicles and property due to accidents.
  • Comprehensive coverage is to pay you in case of theft or damage to an insured’s vehicles that happen because of something other than a vehicle accident.
  • Insurance coverage to pay for injuries caused by an accident varies from state to state. Florida has a no-fault insurance system so crash injury costs are paid under the injured person’s first party personal injury protection coverage (PIP) no matter who’s at fault. There are limits in the policy based an amount of money or injury severity. Costs that go over the limits could be covered by an at fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage.

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays up to a set amount for injuries no matter who caused an accident. The minimum amount varies from state to state (Florida’s minimum is $10,000). That amount needs to be exceeded before someone who’s injured can sue an at fault party for additional costs.

  • PIP coverage pays 80% of all reasonable and medically necessary medical treatment and services, 60% of lost wages and funeral expenses, subject to certain defenses and exceptions.
  • Florida vehicle owners should purchase more PIP coverage, known as “extended PIP,” when possible. Unless injuries are relatively minor it’s very easy for medical costs of treatment of an accident injury plus lost wages to be more than $10,000.
  • If you’re in a single vehicle accident, involved in a hit and run and the other driver isn’t found or he or she lacks insurance, if you just have the minimum PIP coverage $10,000 is all you will get from your insurer to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. It’s wise to pay for as much PIP coverage as you can afford.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Xanax Use Endangers Motorists Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Xanax, used to help patients sleep, can impair drivers and cause accidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Do you think a prescription drug can’t harm you? If so you should think again. One common prescription drug that can lead to addiction is Xanax (or alprazolam), which by itself, or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol, can impair a driver’s abilities to the point where he or she is too dangerous to safely drive. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne represents those injured by drivers impaired by Xanax and other drugs.

Xanax is a central nervous system depressant, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which states these types of drugs are normally prescribed for anxiety, acute stress reactions and panic attacks. Xanax is considered one of the more sedating drugs of the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It’s often prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep problems. Benzodiazepines are not normally prescribed for long term use because patients run a high risk of developing dependence or addiction.

Side effects of the drug can include drowsiness, dizziness, mental or mood changes (such as hallucinations and suicidal thoughts), slurred speech or difficulty talking, loss of coordination, trouble walking and memory problems, reports WebMD.

It’s not clear how common drugged driving has become because unlike alcohol use, there’s no simple, accurate, quick test to determine the level of drugs in a driver’s system. The state highway patrol and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office arrest records don’t separate drivers accused of being impaired by alcohol and drugs, they’re both considered driving under the influence (DUI), according to the Sun Sentinel.

Florida keeps statistics on accidents where drugs are believed to play a role. They were suspected in almost two thousand accidents across Florida in 2015 but drug use was confirmed in only 557 cases. That year there were 16,400 crashes where alcohol use was suspected with 5,522 cases where that use was confirmed.

In 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21% of the 32,166 fatal vehicle accidents in the country involved a driver who tested positive for at least one drug. That’s a sharp increase from the 12% of the 39,252 fatal accidents in 2004.

At least one driver involved in a fatal, Florida accident claims it wasn’t so much the Xanax use that impaired her driving, it was the withdrawal symptoms she was suffering while trying to stop taking it, reports the Miami Herald. April Thomason faces a murder charge after a 2015 vehicle accident killed a pedestrian in Key West. In May Thomason plead that she was innocent on the grounds of insanity caused by use of and withdrawal from Benadryl and Xanax.

She claims she was suffering from Severe Anxiolytic Withdrawal Syndrome at the time which caused her to be psychotic and delusional and unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions, including running over the victim. Thomason told police she had been awake for five days and was taking Benadryl and Xanax but trying to stop taking the Xanax.

While alcohol impaired drivers are more common, those impaired by drugs, both legal and illegal, are no less dangerous. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver impaired by drug use, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

RV’s Fun for Owners, Dangerous to Others: Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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RV’s allow families to enjoy the great outdoors but if not driven properly they pose a danger to other motorists says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Recreational vehicles (RV’s), after suffering major losses in sales after the 2008 recession, are selling again, many to those who’ve never driven them before. These large vehicles, either driven or towed, may be controlled by those behind the wheel for many hours. Florida residents should be on the lookout for RV’s warns Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

“This market is back on fire,” Gigi Stetler, of South Florida’s RV Sales of Broward, told the New York Post last year. She said many of her customers stopped RV’ing with their parents as teens but now are in the market buying them. Gen Xers, or those 35 to 55 years old, now own more RV’s than Baby Boomers with millennials becoming more frequent buyers. A record 396,400 RV’s were bought last year (more than double the number purchased in 2009). In 2015 $16 billion in new RV’s were bought.

Though this may be great news for RV dealers, vacationing families and the many businesses that rely on them in Florida this may not be great news for motorists. RV’s are often driven long distances by those who may be anxious to finally get to their vacation destination, distracted by GPS directing them to unfamiliar locations on busy roads and highways.

  • Two people died in an RV crash in Utah on Interstate 84 in May. Idaho State Police reported a Winnebago motor home towing another vehicle went off the left shoulder, over corrected, overturned and stopped on the right shoulder when it caught fire. The driver and the passenger were killed in the accident, according to KMVT.
  • A multiple vehicle crash that injured one on Interstate 57 south of Marion, Illinois, occurred when a motorhome and a SUV heading southbound collided in April. The two approached a work zone and while the SUV slowed down the motorhome behind it did not, reports WSIL. It rear-ended the SUV, injuring the driver.
  • One person was killed and five others injured after a collision involving a motorhome that cut off a pickup truck in California in April at the intersection of Highway 46 and Highway 41. The California Highway Patrol reported the motorhome made a sharp turn from Highway 46 onto Highway 41 into the path of the pickup. Two people were ejected from the motorhome, one was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was taken from the scene by a helicopter to a local hospital, according to KSBY.

There are many reasons an RV may crash and many potential dangers when you drive near or around an RV.

  • The driver may have been driving a long distance, fatigued, distracted and unfamiliar with the area.
  • A camper or motorhome may have a high center of gravity, not handle well and may easily overturn if the driver makes a sharp turn or suddenly brakes.
  • High winds affect how an RV drives and can make it more difficult for a driver towing a camper trailer.
  • The driver may be inexperienced and rarely drive the vehicle or tow the trailer so may not fully understand how to safely drive it, especially in bad driving conditions.
  • Campers and motorhomes not driven often may be not maintained incorrectly and worn tires or those improperly inflated may blow resulting in a loss of control.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident involved an RV, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Hot Weather & Bad Drivers No Coincidence: Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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High heat brings out the worst in us, including tired, distracted drivers riding on older tires ready to blow says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Higher temperatures decrease mental and physical performance so it should be no surprise our driving abilities hit a low when we hit year round temperature highs in Southern Florida. With hot temperatures tire failures are also more likely and can cause additional accidents. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says when August temperatures get super steamy be super careful when driving.

Though rain, snow, fog, wind, hail and ice are often discussed as risks to safe driving, the impact of heat on increasing the chances of an accident get less attention. Though higher temps are long known to cut our ability to perform physically and mentally a 2013 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the relationship between high temperatures and traffic accident fatalities and injuries in the Catalonia section of Spain.

  • Researches stated there were a total of 118,489 vehicle crashes causing injuries or deaths that occurred between May 15 and October 15 each year from 2000 to 2011, an average of 64.1 crashes per day.
  • The chances of vehicle accidents significantly increased, by 2.9%, during heat waves and the connection was stronger when only accidents where driver performance issues were the problem, increasing the risk by 7.7%.
  • The risk injury causing fatal vehicle accidents increased by 1.1% for each 1°C increase in maximum temperature.
  • Overall the chances of a serious accident sharply increased during heat waves, especially when distractions, driver error, fatigue or sleepiness were to blame for the collisions.
  • While other issues are a far greater threat (drivers have a 300% greater risk of an accident if they’re using a cell phone and driving) heat related driver performance problems still add up to a large number of accidents over the years.

In addition to the sleepy, distracted drivers behind the wheel on hotter days the roadway and tires can be safety problems too. Worn, older, improperly inflated tires travelling at highway speeds on hot pavement baking in the Florida sun for hours can literally explode because the tire weakens over time and use and pressure built up inside them. If a driver is negligent in the care of his or her tires and a blowout causes an accident which results in injuries or deaths, that driver may be held accountable for his or her carelessness.

Tire failures resulting from aging are more common in the summer, during daylight and while the vehicle is operating at highway speeds, according to a 2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, reports the Palm Beach Post. All tires breakdown with age and heat speeds up the aging process.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests drivers should perform a number of vehicle checks when the weather heats up, including tires.

  • They should be looked at when the vehicle hasn’t been driven for a while and be inflated to the air pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (not the pressure figure on the tire sidewall).
  • The manufacturer’s recommendations are normally found in the owner’s manual or on a tire information sticker on the driver’s door jamb.
  • Tire treads should be looked at for adequate depth and signs of uneven wear and sidewalls with cracks or bulges are signs of trouble.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted or fatigued driver in the heat of the summer or it’s the result of a tire blowout, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.