Joe Osborne personal injury lawyer near Boca Raton Archives | Osborne & Francis

Don’t Let Bugs Bug You Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Don’t let insects or spiders in your car distract you so much you cause an accident warns Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s summer in Florida and along with the tourists insects and spiders seem to be coming out of the woodwork. By one estimate there are more than 400 types of insects in Florida and some of them may hitch a ride with you in your car. All types of insects look for a safe and dry refuge during the summer rainy season and cars are the perfect place to nest. If you find yourself in a vehicle with an insect or spider, even one that may really freak you out, don’t freak out behind the wheel says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Drivers being distracted by spiders is a documented cause of car accidents.

  • The Broward Sheriff’s Office announced that a June car crash in Cooper City happened after the driver saw a spider in the car. The car hit a light pole, knocking it onto the street, reports the Associated Press.
  • A driver panicked and crashed his car in May in Ephrata Township, Pennsylvania, because he thought there was a spider in his lap. Lancaster Online states the driver reported to police he lost control of the vehicle which struck a utility pole. The driver wasn’t injured but the car had to be towed from the scene.
  • A spider dropping down from the rearview mirror caused a driver to lose control of her car, which went off the road and rolled over in Portland, Oregon, in September, according to CNN. The driver suffered minor injuries but the car was severely damaged.

United Kingdom auto insurer Esure released a survey of a thousand motorists in 2007 which spelled out how drivers are distracted by bugs and respond in ways that may cause accidents, according to Automotportal.

  • 75% of those surveyed stated that bugs drove them to distraction,
  • 4% admitted to slamming on the brakes when an insect flew into their car,
  • 21% stated they took their hands off the wheel to swat at an unwanted bug,
  • Women were more distracted by insects while driving (78%) than men (70%) but men admitted to more insect-related accidents than women, and
  • 51% of respondents stated they had never been stung before or haven’t been stung in the last ten years and the fear of a serious allergic reaction caused them to get so distracted.

Many of us have phobias about insects and spiders and our reaction to them can be much worse when we’re in a car. Our fears and anxieties can intensify because we’re in an enclosed space, possibly causing a severe response and panic, resulting in being distracted and losing control of the car.

Esure suggests that if you find an insect in your car while driving,

  • Focus on driving, not the bug,
  • Open the windows so it can get out of the car on its own accord or safely pull over and open the windows, and
  • Try not to panic and swat at the insect to try to force the insect away. It will distract you from driving, make you feel more frantic, may irritate the insect and increase the chances of being stung.

We all need to be as rational as possible when we’re driving, even if a spider appears on the dashboard, your kids are screaming at each other in the back seat or another driver cuts you off. Distraction causes accidents which can result in serious injuries or deaths. That accident you cause may inflict far more harm than a bug bite.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by a distracted 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.

Do Tough Seatbelt Laws Work? Asks Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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The effectiveness of enforcement of seatbelt use laws is being debated, but there’s no debate their use saves lives says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Those using seatbelts are less likely to be killed in vehicle accidents. Though seatbelt usage has increased over the years, there are still too many of us who can’t be bothered to use them. Thirty-four states, including Florida, allow law enforcement officers to pull over vehicles if occupants aren’t following the law.

In Florida front passengers must be belted and anyone under 18 years old needs to be restrained. Though strict seatbelt laws are well intentioned, how effective are they? asks Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Fifteen states allow for ticketing due to lack of seatbelt use only if the vehicle is pulled over for some other reason. New Hampshire (the “Live Free or Die” state, where that’s taken literally when it comes to seatbelts) is the only state without a seatbelt law, according to the Insurance Journal.

The federal government estimates that seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved about 14,000 occupants’ lives in 2015. Almost half of the 22,400 occupants killed in vehicle crashes that year weren’t using seatbelts. Because of the high number of deaths of those travelling unbelted, some safety experts claim more laws allowing vehicles to be pulled over just for lack of belt usage (known as “primary enforcement”) are needed.

Perhaps motivated by the most dramatic two-year increase in accident related deaths in decades, laws are being proposed in several states to toughen enforcement. These laws have critics including those who see them as more government interference in our personal lives and the fact these types of laws can be used to disproportionately target minority drivers.

Seat belt use nationally has gone from nearly 71% in 2000 to 90% in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

  • Florida came in just under the national average, at 89.4%. Usage in other states ranged from 69.5% to 97.3%.
  • NHTSA estimates that last year 92% of drivers used seat belts in states with primary enforcement, compared to 83% for states where there need to be other reasons to pull the vehicle over (or “secondary enforcement”).

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzing data from 2000 to 2014 in states that upgraded from secondary to primary enforcement puts into doubt whether primary enforcement of seatbelt laws is better at saving lives. Sam Harper, an associate professor at McGill University who co-authored the study, said there’s no evidence it makes a difference because people will buckle up, or not, regardless of the type of enforcement.

Though some nationwide studies claim to show primary seatbelt use enforcement doesn’t negatively impact minorities, the American Civil Liberties Union published a study of the law’s negative effects in Florida. It found that African American motorists were stopped and ticketed for seat belt violations nearly twice as often as white motorists statewide in 2014.

That disparity was higher in some counties where African American drivers encountered tougher enforcement than White drivers. African American drivers were,

  • Four times more frequently ticketed than white motorists by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in 2011,
  • Ticketed three times more often than white motorists by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in 2014, and
  • Ticketed nearly three times more often than white motorists by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in 2014.

No matter what state laws say about seat belt use or how they are enforced what’s more important are the laws of physics. If you and your passengers are unrestrained and involved in a vehicle accident, you are likely to slam into the interior of the vehicle, into each other and possibly thrown out of the vehicle. That greatly increases the risks of serious injuries or deaths occurring in the accident.

Whether or not seatbelts were used, if you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a vehicle 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.