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Archive for auto-accident

Safety of 15-Passenger Vans Questioned

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla – If you have read the paper or watched a newscast, you have heard of the auto accident that left eight members of a Florida church dead. That accident has brought safety issues with a specific type of van back into the light.

As of yet, no one knows what caused the passenger van to slide off of the road and into a ravine, but the accident has re-exposed safety issues with large passenger vans. The van involved in this particular incident, a 2000 Dodge Ram wagon, is known to have run a stop sign and lose control. It is the difficulty in regaining control of this type of vehicle that has safety officials and advocates revisiting known safety issues.

Chances are high that you will recognize the type of vehicle that officials and advocates are concerned about. The large, box-shaped vans hold 15 passengers and are popular with religious organizations, colleges, and other large groups. But what is wrong with the vehicles?

According to Joan Claybrook, a past head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Some insurance companies refuse to insure them because it’s so dangerous.” There are numerous issues in the vehicles that make them susceptible to accidents that ultimately result in fatality. Those issues include the width of the vans, their height, the structure of the seats, and the often lack of availability and/or quality of seatbelts.

Officials have been warning the public about the hazards of this type of van for more than 10 years. Organizations utilizing these vans tend to overload them, increasing the risk of rollover and the inability to bring the van under control in an emergency situation. Anyone riding in one of these vans is urged to wear a seatbelt and, if a potential passenger notices that the van will be holding more than 15 people, find another ride.

Federal statistics tell us that in a period

Driver Safety for Slick or Slippery Roads

Cities across the country have seen strange weather patterns this winter, from the excessive snow fall in the Northeast to the freezing cold and rain in the South, and even our neighbors in the Western areas of the country, where there is usually little or no snow fall, have fallen victim to Mother Nature’s whims this season.

This makes it especially more important for everyone to take care and be cautious on the roadways. Here we will share several tips to assist you and your loved ones in remaining safe while traveling on wet or slippery roads.

10 Safety Tips for Travel on Slippery Roads

Regularly check your windshield wipers, headlights, tail lights, and signals to ensure proper operation Regularly check tire pressure and tread to ensure maximum traction and functionality Avoid using cruise control when driving in wet or slippery conditions. You want to have full control of the vehicle and the cruise control has been known to cause vehicles to lose control and even hydroplane Avoid speeding. Even at just 35mph, tires can lose traction when driving conditions are less than ideal Leave several car lengths between your vehicle and the one in front of you in the event the other driver stops suddenly or loses control If you feel your vehicle going into a skid, try not to panic (though that can be easier said than done) Take your foot off of the accelerator DO NOT engage the brakes; they are useless because the vehicle has no traction during a skid Steer the vehicle gently in the direction in which you want it to go; do not turn the wheel aggressively as you will likely completely lose control of the vehicle Allow the front wheels to regain their grip Continue to steer gently in the appropriate direction Always wear your safety belt and ensure are passengers are secured as well In cases where visibility is diminished, drive

Florida Supreme Court Rules on Hit and Runs

Florida Supreme Court Justices have spoken, and prosecutors may now find it more difficult to convict people who are charged with hit-and-run.

In 2013, Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal overturned Zachariah Dorsett’s conviction and prison sentence. Dorsett had been convicted of leaving the scene of an accident that caused injury. In the accident, Nicholas Savinon, aged 15, was dragged under Dorsett’s pickup truck for a distance of 40 feet.

The appellate court’s ruling included that the jury did not receive two special instructions, one of which would have told them that prosecutors had the duty to prove that Dorsett had knowledge that an accident had occurred. Prosecutors hoped that the Florida Supreme Court would rule that “knowledge” should be more specific. They did not.

Issuing a 13-page ruling, the high court said that the phrase is standard. Written in the unanimous decision is the following:

“The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver had actual knowledge of the crash, an essential element of the crime of leaving the scene of a crash.”

According to public record, there were just over 6,000 crashes in Palm Beach County in 2013 that involved drivers leaving the scene. All of these crashes included injury, property damage, or death. In 2011, the number of hit-and-run accidents were almost half of that number.

Former prosecutor Elizabeth Parker, now a defense attorney, said the ruling will ensure that investigators must give direct evidence that a defendant knew he or she had been involved in an accident. The evidence may come from physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, concrete facts, or confessions.

Convictions can no longer happen based on the fact that a crash occurred and a driver left the scene. That driver must be proven to have known there was a crash.

It is unclear whether the ruling will be retroactive or if it will only apply to cases going forward. The high court

Miami Teen Collides with Pedestrian

MIAMI, Fla – When you give your teenager the keys to the family vehicle, you worry that they will be safe. You hope that they have paid attention when learning the rules of the road, and you hope that they will return home unharmed.

What you rarely consider is that your teen will cause someone else harm.

That is what happened Friday when an inexperienced 16-year-old driver drove through a crosswalk, failing to yield for a pedestrian, sending that pedestrian to the hospital.

The driver who remains unidentified due to age, drove through a crosswalk near Albenga Avenue and San Amaro Drive just after 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. The driver struck 20-year-old Matthew Wisehaupt, a student at University of Miami.

The 2015 gray Audi struck Wisehaupt with enough force that the man was rushed to the hospital from the scene. Wisehaupt’s injuries were reported to be non-life threatening. The teen driver remained on the scene and cooperated with responding officers.

Teach Teens About Distracted Driving

While no information has been reported as to the cause of the accident, not seeing a person in a crosswalk can very well be due to distracted driving. Before you let your teenage driver take control of the wheel, make sure that you lay down some ground rules.

It is recommended that new drivers do not transport groups of friends in the car. Even if your teen driver is focused on the road, the conversation going on in the car can be distracting enough to cause your teen to make mistakes. Do not let your child drive a vehicle containing more than a single friend.

If your teen has a cell phone, install a parental block on that phone and activate it before your child gets in the car. Do not assume that telling your child not to text and drive is enough. There are several apps that you can install that will

Buckle Up: It Could Save Your Life

Over the years there have been numerous campaigns surrounding seat belt use and the associated statistics illustrating how the use of a safety belt can enhance chances for survival after a car accident. To better understand the role of seat belts as they relate to accidents, we need to look at what actually happens to the vehicle and its occupants during a crash.

Anatomy of an Accident

One single car crash involves three different collisions or points of impact for the vehicle and its occupants:

Initial impact – the vehicle hits another vehicle or a stationary object and comes to a stop. Second impact – due to the momentum the vehicle had pre-collision, the bodies of the occupants continue to move forward at the speed at which the vehicle was progressing prior to the initial impact. If the vehicle was progressing at 35mph and came to a full stop upon initial impact, the occupants’ bodies would continue to move at 35mph even once the vehicle stopped moving. Final impact – even once the vehicle and the occupants have stopped moving, the occupants’ internal organs are still in motion and collide internally with bone, tissue, and other organs.

Wearing a safety belt does not alleviate all of the potential damage. It does, however, lessen the severity of the damage by absorbing the impact of the collision in the areas where your body is best able to withstand it; the bones of your hips, shoulders, and chest. Because of the ‘give’ of the seat belt, our body does not come to an immediate stop upon impact.

Data from a University of Washington study shows that the use of a shoulder harness in conjunction with a lap belt reduces risk of death by 86 percent. Though some believe that air bags can be used in place of safety belts, additional data shows that a deploying air bag can be dangerous, and in some

Resolution 2015: No Speeding

Welcome to 2015! If you are like the rest of us, you have given serious though to the things you want to change in 2015 and have probably set some resolutions to get yourself on track. Our typical resolutions include things like spending more time with family and losing some unwanted pounds. Have you considered making a resolution to be a safer driver? How about this year you pick one area of your driving to work on? What about a resolution to stop speeding?

This weekend in San Diego, a 28 year-old man lost his life as a result of operating his vehicle at excessive speeds. The driver missed a left turn; the vehicle then crashed through a guard rail and a chain link fence, fell 100 feet and landed on its roof. The 24 year old passenger suffered severe injuries, but is expected to recover.

According to information from the World Health Organization, controlling vehicle speed not only prevents crashes, but can also lessens the injuries that occur as a result of a crash. Pedestrians and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to speed risks. Studies have shown that pedestrians have a 90% higher chance of survival if struck by a vehicle travelling at or below 19 miles per hour. Chances of survival decrease to less than 50% when speeds reach 27 miles per hour or greater.

How Speed Affects Collisions and Injury

The greater the speed, the less time a driver has to react in an effort to avoid a crash A vehicle traveling at 31 mph requires approximately 42 feet of stopping distance Increasing speed by 1 mile per hour Increases the chance of an injury-involved crash by 3% Increases the chance of fatality by 4 – 5%

The National Highway Safety Administration in their 2011 National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behaviors posed several questions to diverse driver populations including self-confessed speeds, sometime speeders, and non-speeders where

Altercation Turns Deadly

Two teens who are said to have met and had an altercation at a party took their fight to the roadways. Juan Rebollar, 18 and Jose De Jesus Garcia, 19, exchanged words at a house party. When Garcia left the party, Rebollar followed him. The two are said to have reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour when Rebollar intentionally hit Garcia’s vehicle, sending him careening off the road into a pillar.

As Garcia lay dying in his car, Rebollar exited his vehicle and fled the scene. He later went to the local police station to report his vehicle stolen. After investigation and further interrogation of Rebollar, the police found the story to be contrived and Rebollar was placed under arrest for hit-and-run and assault with a deadly weapon involving a vehicle. Rebollar, who does not have a driver’s license, is being held on $500,000 bail and could face up to 11 years in prison.

Road rage is a growing phenomenon. This particular incident started off-road and turned into a roadway tragedy. Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the following facts specific to aggressive driving and road rage:

Aggressive driving includes: Driving at excessive speeds Following too closely Weaving through traffic Ignoring traffic signals Yelling at or gesturing to other drivers


Road rage is usually an escalation from aggressive driving Sociologists suggest these instances are a breakdown in our overall view of community Psychologist say it is due to the power and anonymity we possess when behind the wheel Traffic engineers feel it is due to overall driving patterns


Possible causes of road rage Driver fatigue Having an overall bad day Use of drugs or alcohol Anger at life in general Anxiety about driving A need to reach their destination quickly

Whatever the cause, and regardless of why it happens, the most important thing for all drivers is to stay out of

Rain Means More Accidents

Wednesday was a rainy day in San Diego. The rain, according to California Highway Patrol, contributed to 356 accidents by 6 p.m. compared to a normal daily accident range of between 50 and 70. Mike Allen, owner of the Bumper Doc in Kearny Mesa, says that when the rains occur the aftermath for them is an increase in business. For the rest of us, the rain just adds to the difficulty of navigating the roadways.

According to an investigation into rainfall’s impact on traffic performed by the University of Virginia, rain and its intensity affect traffic in the following ways:

Light rain – intensity of .01 to .25 inches per hour – 4% to 10% decrease in freeway capacity Heavy rain – intensity of .25 inches per hour or > – 25% to 30% decrease in freeway capacity The presence of rain at any intensity results in a 5% to 6.5% decrease in operating speeds

The overall takeaway behind those readings is that as drivers, we have to be aware of how wet roads affect our ability to maneuver and what we can do to protect ourselves. Before you get on the road, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances a safe journey.

Before Driving in the Rain

Check all lights to ensure proper working function If the bottoms of your shoes are wet, wipe them on the carpet to avoid having them slip off of the pedals Check your tires; driving on bald tires will increase chances of hydroplaning; maintain proper inflation

Tips for Safer Driving on Wet Roads

Obey posted speed limits and downward adjust for safety Stay towards the middle lanes as water collects in outside lanes Watch your following distance; no tail-gaiting Drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you Use care when driving behind or near to large vehicles as overspray from the tires can decrease your visibility

Driver Charged in Hit-and-Run

In the most recent hit-and-run in Florida, high-school student, Jacqueline Faircloth, who was visiting her brother in Tallahassee, was hit by a pick-up truck. “She stepped out into the road and I yelled, ‘Jackie, there’s a car, look out,’ ” said J.T. Faircloth, her brother. The driver of the truck, 20 year-old Devon Dwyer, left the scene of the accident.

Jackie, as her friends and family call her, was taken to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare with a broken eardrum, broken jaw, chest injury and serious head trauma. She is currently in a medically-induced-coma and is listed in critical condition. Though Dwyer drove away and eventually hid his vehicle, his passenger, Jacob Salow was unnerved by the entire event and contacted authorities.

According to the police report, Salow who is a co-worker of Dwyer’s happened to accept a ride home from work Dwyer. After the accident, Salow says Dwyer kept looking over at him saying “It’s not my fault. She stepped in front of the car.” Instead of taking Salow home, Dwyer drove to the home of a friend, went into the home and then a group came out and moved vehicles around to allow the pick-up truck to be parked and hidden from view. Dwyer’s girlfriend then came to pick up the two men to drive them home. Neither told her about the accident.

Salow, through his attorney, Ryan Davis, contacted police to give his account of events and lead police to Dwyer and the vehicle. Davis said, “It was a stressful situation, you know, obviously he was not the driver so it wasn’t his decision of stopping it.” When offered the reward money, Dwyer was not interested and asked that it go to the family to help with medical bills. He maintains that he came forward because it was the “…right thing to do.”

According to an article in USA Today, major U.S. cities are realizing an increase in

DUI Driver Gets 11 Year Term

Anthony Giglio was sentenced last week to 11 years in prison for his role in a DUI manslaughter accident that occurred last year. Giglio had left West Palm Beach’s City Place after a night of drinking which left his blood alcohol content (BAC) at an astonishing .243; more than three times the legal limit.

According to Heather Bisbee, a passenger in Giglio’s vehicle, when she warned him of the upcoming red light, his response was “Watch this!” He proceeded to run his Cadillac SUV through the intersection where he connected with the passenger side of a Ford Mustang carrying 31 year-old Sandy Suarez. Her heart is said to have torn apart from the impact of the crash, causing her to die at the scene of the collision.

In the courtroom, Giglio took full responsibility for the collision and was sentenced to 11 years for what the judge referred to as an “…unquestionable human tragedy.” Circuit Judge David Crow then asked Giglio to honor the victim by addressing to her loved-ones how his actions caused the senseless death and ruined two families, including his own.

Upon completion of his prison term, Giglio will serve 18 months’ probation and 200 hours of community service where he will speak to school groups, community and civic organizations about the dangers of drinking and driving.

After sentencing, “Hopefully during this time your actions will prevent someone like yourself from getting into a car and driving while intoxicated,” Crow told Giglio. “And hopefully, just hopefully, your actions will save someone’s life, and in the future, it will save some degree of a family like the one suffering today.”

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Many celebrations begin on Wednesday night, sometimes referred to as ‘Black Wednesday’ and unofficially considered the busiest bar night of the year also ending up as the biggest night of the year for drunk driving. Each year the