Joe Osborne personal injury lawyer for Dade Broward & Palm Beach Counties Archives | Osborne & Francis

Decision Puts Money Ahead of Safety Warns Boca Truck Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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A proposed rule to reduce the number of dangerous truck drivers has been stopped by the Trump administration says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

The Trump Administration, in its efforts to create a more business-friendly federal government, has made a decision that could result in more deaths and serious injuries caused in commercial truck accidents. A planned regulation would’ve required truck drivers be screened for sleep apnea, which if untreated could result in fatigued or drowsy drivers. Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne says without the regulation the chances of a truck accident caused by a fatigued and distracted driver increase.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) announced earlier this month a regulation requiring testing of train engineers and truck drivers for sleep apnea proposed by the Obama administration will not be pursued, reports the Associated Press (AP). The disorder causes temporary heart stoppages while the person sleeps, waking him or her up several times a night. In the morning the person is fatigued and easily distracted because of the lack of quality sleep. Train engineers and truck drivers with sleep apnea have been blamed for deadly train crashes in New York City and New Jersey and several highway crashes.

The FMCSA stated trucking companies will decide whether or not to test drivers. This is but one of hundreds of regulations that have been withdrawn or delayed by the administration. It claims reduced regulations will result in economic growth. Former FRA administer Sarah Feinberg was quoted by the AP as saying,

“It’s very hard to argue that people aren’t being put at risk…We cannot have someone who is in that condition operating either a train going 70 mph or operating a multi-ton truck traveling down the interstate. It’s just not an appropriate level of risk to be exposing passengers and the traveling public to.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated it was disappointed the proposed rule is being dropped. The agency stated sleep apnea has been found to be the probable cause of ten highway and rail accidents it has investigated in the past 17 years. It’s also suspected in a number of ongoing investigations.

More than a quarter (28%) of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea according to a study sponsored by the FMCSA and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations.

The FMCSA states that untreated sleep apnea affects alertness and performance. It can make it difficult for drivers to stay awake, focus their eyes and react when driving. Studies have shown that those with the condition have a greater risk of being involved in a fatigue-related motor vehicle accident. Even though a driver with untreated sleep apnea may not fall asleep behind the wheel if he or she is fatigued enough to be distracted or inattentive that may be enough to cause an accident.

FMCSA regulations state a person with a diagnosis of a condition likely to interfere with their ability to drive safely cannot be medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. If a driver is diagnosed with sleep apnea and successfully treated he or she can be medically cleared to drive again.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a commercial truck accident, contact Boca truck 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.

Drivers Backing Up Need to Use Caution Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents | No Comments

A driver going in reverse can be responsible for injuries or deaths caused by an accident if negligence can be shown says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

A vehicle going in reverse is potentially very dangerous because it may cause an accident with another vehicle or strike a pedestrian. Vehicles are built to go forward and visibility out the back may not be good and passengers or cargo may block the view. We also go into reverse in potentially dangerous situations: crowded parking lots and out of driveways (possibly crossing sidewalks) into streets. No matter which direction a vehicle is moving the driver has a responsibility to drive safely says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 2002 and 2006 there were 48,000 injuries nationwide due to accidents involving all types of vehicles backing up on public roads and private property such as driveways and parking lots. These accidents also caused an estimated 463 deaths.

There are all too many instances of serious injuries and deaths involving vehicles going in reverse.

  • A two year old boy was killed in July after he was struck by an SUV driven by his grandmother who was backing out of a driveway in Fontana, California, reports the Los Angeles Times. A police officer at the scene told the Times, “It’s one of the worst calls you can go to.” Police report the child went behind the vehicle without anyone seeing him. A neighbor who works as a nurse tried to use CPR to revive the child but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Another two year old boy was killed in June in Jacksonville after being struck by a vehicle backing up, driven by his mother, according to WJXT, in an apartment complex parking lot. He survived the collision but died hours later at a hospital. The boy’s mother was visiting his grandmother and asked her to watch her two small children while she went to the store. The two year old left the apartment without his grandmother realizing it and was behind the vehicle when his mother backed out of a parking spot.
  • A Virginia volunteer firefighter was killed when he was struck by a firetruck going in reverse at the scene of a vehicle accident in May, reports WSLS.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol stated that a 59 year old Panama City resident and Bay County Road and Bridges worker was killed in a worksite accident in Fountain in February. He was part of a work crew doing street maintenance when he was struck and killed by a dump truck that was backing up, according to WJHG. The worker was taken to a local hospital where he died.

Under Florida statute, “The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.” Violation of the law is considered a moving violation and you may be ticketed if law enforcement finds you were going in reverse in a dangerous manner. In a personal injury case if the driver is cited for violating this law it can be used as evidence of negligence and can greatly help the case.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or as a pedestrian by a vehicle going in reverse, 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.

Seizures by Drivers Rare But Dangerous Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Florida law limits those suffering seizures from driving but accidents involving serious injuries still occur says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

To be safe a driver must be fully alert and capable of mentally and physically functioning so there’s no danger posed to the driver, passengers and others on the road. Drivers who suffer seizures behind the wheel can cause car accidents that result in serious injuries or deaths. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says those who suffer seizures shouldn’t drive.

The chances of being struck by a driver suffering a seizure is low. An article in the journal Neurology states that based on certificates of drivers who died in car crashes from 1995 to 1997 very few people suffer seizures before fatal accidents. Of the roughly 44,027 drivers being killed annually in this time frame only 86 of the death certificates (or 0.2%) listed seizures or epilepsy as a contributing factor.

One of the reasons it’s so rare is that states, including Florida, have laws restricting those suffering seizures from driving. Under state law someone with epilepsy can get a license to drive with their doctor’s recommendation if they haven’t had any seizures for two years, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

Though it may not happen often, drivers suffering seizures can seriously injure or kill others.

  • In Bay County, Florida, an employee of the county’s road and bridges department was seriously injured in May in an accident caused by an Alabama driver believed to be suffering a seizure, according to WJHG. The Florida Highway Patrol states that the employee was next to an arrow board in a temporary lane closure when he was struck. The employee’s injuries were described as critical.
  • A car accident involving a driver suffering a seizure killed one and injured others in El Cajon, California, in 2015. The driver of an SUV was exiting an interstate when she apparently suffered a seizure. Her teenage daughter was a passenger and she tried to use the parking brake to slow the car down but the vehicle was travelling too fast. The Lexus rear-ended two cars on the off ramp, killing one of the drivers. A total of six vehicles were involved in the accident, according to NBC San Diego.

The issue of drivers with seizures got a lot of attention in 2012 when the then Secretary of Commerce John Bryson took a medical leave after he claimed a seizure caused him to hit two cars in California, according to ABC News.

Bryson was found unconscious in his car by police who cited him for leaving the scene of an accident after he rear-ended one car, left the scene then struck another. After the first collision Bryson got out of his car, spoke with the occupants then left. About five minutes later he hit another car. He took and passed a blood alcohol test.

According to medical experts interviewed in the story,

  • Seizures are a neurological disorder and there are different types of seizures.
  • They cause a temporary disturbance of behavior or consciousness and affect the non-dominant side of the brain, which is on the right for most people.
  • A complex partial seizure may result in the person appearing to be staring or fumbling, losing awareness of his or her surroundings. If this happens to someone driving they can lose control of their vehicle.
  • An epileptic seizure can cause a driver have an accident and possibly drive off in a confused state. The driver may have little or no memory of the incident.

If the driver never had a seizure and had no reason to expect one, such a person might not be negligent if he or she caused an accident. However if a person is violating the law or ignoring a doctor’s advice not to drive, drives anyway, has a seizure and causes an accident then a good argument the driver committed negligence could be made.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a car accident involving a driver suffering a seizure or other medical emergency, 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.

Drugged Drivers Common in Florida Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Tiger Woods is just one of many Floridians too impaired by prescription drugs to safely drive says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

A driver can become dangerous for many reasons, including being impaired by prescription drugs. One of Florida’s more famous residents, Tiger Woods, was recently arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs near his home on Jupiter Island, reports CNBC. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says accidents in Florida are caused every day by drugged drivers.

Woods, who had been ranked as the world’s best golfer early in his career, blamed an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications for his arrest. He’s had four back surgeries, most recently earlier this month to relieve lingering back pain. Woods was arrested and later released according to the Palm Beach County Police.

A statement released by Woods’ spokesman stated that alcohol was not a factor but he apologized and added that he took full responsibility. He claimed he didn’t expect the mix of medications he was taking would have such a strong impact on him.

The police report states that Woods’ Mercedes appeared to have “fresh damage” when he was found asleep at the wheel the morning of his arrest by an officer from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Both tire rims on the driver’s side had minor damage, the front and rear tires on that side of the vehicle were flat, there was damage to the bumpers and a tail light was out, reports CNN.

Woods was found on the side of the road, the car running, its brake lights illuminated and right turn signal flashing, according to the arrest report. The officer woke him up, his speech was slurred and he stated he didn’t know where he was. Woods reportedly told the officer he was taking several prescriptions. A Breathalyzer test showed no signs of alcohol use and he also took a urine test.

Woods is not alone when taking to the streets too drugged to drive.

  • Results of a 2010 nationwide study of fatal vehicle accidents show that prescription drug use is a greater hazard than illegal drugs. It found that about 47% of drivers who tested positive for drugs had used a prescription drug, compared to 37% of drivers who tested positive for marijuana and about 10% of drivers who had used cocaine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The most common prescription drugs found were pain relievers.
  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Board states that for fatal vehicle accidents in 2009 in Florida, 42% of drivers were not tested for drugs. About 16% of those who were tested showed drug use or 239 of 1,485 drivers.

Woods’ situation is all too common. Many drivers may take to the road despite the fact they know they can’t safely drive because of prescription medication or their effect may come as a surprise. Either way it’s a dangerous situation that could result in serious injuries or deaths. Though Woods’ professional and personal lives have taken well publicized turns for the worse both he and everyone else on the roads on Jupiter Island that night are lucky no one was injured or killed after Woods got behind the wheel. Others are not so lucky.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a car accident involving a drugged driver, 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.

Baseball and Beer Endanger Drivers Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Drunken fans can be a menace at a ball game and when they drive home after it’s over says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne

Baseball is America’s pastime and there’s plenty to choose from in South Florida, from the Miami Marlins to the minor leagues and college teams. Thanks to smart marketing and teams eager to make more money at the concession stand beer and baseball are in a tight embrace. Sometimes fans enjoy too much beer with the game they’re watching and pose a hazard to others when they drive home says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

The number of drunken fans may startle even long time season ticket holders. A study by University of Minnesota researchers estimates that one in every 12 fans leaving major sporting events is intoxicated, reports U.S. News & World Report.

  • If 20,000 people attend a Marlins game, if this figure is accurate, nearly 1,700 people leave the stadium drunk. If only a third drive from Marlins Ballpark more than 500 intoxicated drivers will be hitting the road after a game.
  • When the NFL season starts if 65,000 attend a Dolphins game there could be about 5,400 drunk fans there and thousands of drunk drivers leaving the game.

Researchers measured the blood alcohol content (BAC) of 382 adults following 13 baseball games and three football games and found that 8% of fans surveyed had a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the legal intoxication limit. Those who pre-gamed at tailgate parties were 14 times more likely to leave the game drunk. A quarter of the tailgaters surveyed admitted to drinking five or more alcoholic beverages. Fans younger than 35 were nine times more likely to be drunk than other attendees.

Study results are from testing fans leaving sporting events between May and October 2006. They were asked to participate with an anonymous breathalyzer test and a five-minute verbal survey assessing their alcohol consumption levels before and during the game. There were an average of twenty volunteers after each game, 58% of them were men and about 55% were between the age of 21 and 35.

Study author Darin Erickson, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health said it was challenging to get fans to cooperate not just because some may have wanted to hide their blood alcohol level but also because fans just want to beat the traffic and drive home.

Some experts say the 8% estimate is probably on the low side but the study shows how serious the problem is. “The study reminds us that heavy drinking at sporting events occurs and that this likely contributes to DWI accidents and injuries or even deaths,” said Dr. James C. Garbutt, medical director of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused a drunk driver, 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.