Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Another bill has been filed for the 2019 legislative session that would allow law-enforcement officers to pull over motorists for texting or talking on hand-held cell phones while driving.

Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, filed a measure (HB 107) on Monday that would prohibit drivers from talking on cell phones that are not hands-free devices and would make enforcement a “primary” offense.

Currently, texting while driving in Florida is illegal, but it is enforced as a “secondary” offense. That means motorists can only be cited if they are stopped for other infractions, such as running stop signs or speeding.

Under Toledo’s bill, police would be able to stop motorists for texting or talking on hand-held cell phones.

A Senate bill (SB 76) similar to Toledo’s new proposal has been filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, for the 2019 session, which starts in March.

Under the Toledo and Simpson bills, drivers would be able to communicate on hands-free devices.

Also, motorists would be allowed to use hand-held devices for such purposes as reporting emergencies, getting safety-related information or for navigation. Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, also has filed a similar measure (HB 45) for the 2019 session.

Driving safely on busy Tampa Bay roads can be challenging under ideal circumstances, but it is impossible to do when you’re distracted. Driving while texting, talking on the phone, eating, or reading has become disturbingly common. Engaging in these unsafe driving practices behind-the-wheel can lead to drivers causing serious, even fatal, auto accidents.

Distracted driving can be deadly. Many experts suggest that cell phone distractions are the single biggest reason that fatal accidents on US roads has increased over the past three years.

Victims of distracted driving accidents deserve compensation for the injuries they suffer. If you’re a Tampa Bay resident who has been hurt in a distracted driving crash, our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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Local leaders, and lawmakers, will meet on Monday afternoon in Tampa to announce new legislation aimed at making roads safer.  

The proposed legislation was written in response to a Tampa family’s pleas to crackdown on distracted driving.  

On September 25, 2016, a family was stopped in a traffic jam on Interstate 75 when a distracted driver slammed into the back of their SUV going more than 100 miles per hour.  

Investigators say that driver was so absorbed in his phone that he never looked up and did not even attempt to brake.  

The impact of the crash killed their 9-year-old son instantly.

The family will join Representative Jackie Toledo on Monday, along with Hillsborough County School officials and local law enforcement officials, to introduce a bill that strengthens the policy on distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a serious problem, not only in Tampa, but across the country. Distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone, according to the NHTSA. Another 391,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes.

Texting, talking, checking social media, or inputting an address in your GPS are all forms of distracted driving. When you take your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, you put yourself and everyone else sharing the road with you at risk.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are passionate about holding drivers responsible for the consequences of distracted driving in car accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a collision caused by a distracted driver, we can help with your lawsuit.

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A 49-year-old Tampa Bay area woman has been charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident following a wrong-way crash at Gunn Highway and Isbell Lane just before 9 p.m. Monday.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the woman was driving a Jeep Wrangler south in the northbound lanes of Gunn Highway when she encountered a Nissan Altima.

The Altima swerved into the painted median to avoid the crash with the woman, but was struck on the passenger side by the Jeep.

The front axle of the Jeep Wrangler snapped, and the vehicle eventually came to a stop in the road near North Mobley Road.

Deputies arrived and found the woman sitting in a gray sedan across from the Jeep. Her wallet was located on the Jeep’s front passenger seat and her flip flops were under the Jeep’s brake pedal. Deputies said the woman smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, bloodshot, watery eyes and was unable to stand on her own.

Deputies said field sobriety tests were not conducted due to the woman’s extreme level of intoxication. She refused to provide breath samples. She was transported to the Orient Road Jail and charged with driving under the influence with property damage and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

According to the Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles, the majority of wrong-way collisions result in vehicles being hit head-on – 81% of all wrong-way fatalities are head-on collisions.

Tampa Bay is one of the worst areas for wrong-way crashes. A study by the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles found Florida had 1,490 wrong-way crashes and 96 fatalities in 2015. According to the report, three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way driving crashes in the state: Hillsborough ranked fourth, Pinellas placed sixth and Pasco took eighth.

In Tampa Bay specifically, 2014 was a particularly deadly year for wrong-way crashes. A Christmas Day wrong-way crash that killed three people in Pinellas County and there were at least eight other reports of wrong-way drivers that year.

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A 22-year-old man has been charged in a hit-and-run Tuesday morning that left a pedestrian critically injured.

The man was booked into the Pinellas County jail and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury and careless driving.

Police said the 59-year-old woman was crossing Drew Street in a crosswalk when she was struck by a car driven by the man, who was making a left turn from southbound Fort Harrison onto eastbound Drew Street.

Police said he initially stopped and called 911, then left the scene after telling fire rescue workers he had found the woman laying in the street.

The man was later tracked down by officers and he admitted to striking the pedestrian. He said he was distracted by looking at his phone trying to pick out music when he made the turn and hit the woman. He added that he was scared and left the scene.

The victim was transported to Bay Front Hospital with serious injuries.

Cell phones keep us connected, and some people need to be connected at all times, even when driving. Conversations, texts, playlists, emails just cannot wait long enough for the driver to reach their destination. It is no wonder that accidents involving distracted drivers are on the rise. If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving accident, speak with our Clearwater Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton so that we can advise you of your legal rights and how to obtain just compensation for your injuries.

Florida state law defines hit-and-run accidents, or leaving the scene of an accident, as a criminal offense when the driver fails to stop and identify him or herself to the involved parties. If there are serious injuries, property damage or death, the driver must remain at the scene.

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Multiple people were hit and injured Thursday morning in Tampa, including students at a bus stop, according to police.

The crash occurred at E. Bougainvillea Avenue and Marvy Avenue around 8 a.m.

Witnesses stated the vehicle was speeding on Bougainvillea Ave. before hitting the pedestrians on the south side of the street.

Police said two adults and three juveniles were transported to the hospital with serious injuries. One juvenile has been listed in critical condition.

Bougainvillea is currently shut down between N. 15 St. and N. 18th St.

Officials said the driver has been taken into custody and the investigation remains ongoing.

A driver may be speeding, distracted, intoxicated or just driving carelessly and cause a serious collision. Pedestrian vs. car accidents typically result in serious injuries to pedestrians. Injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries and even death.

Pedestrian accidents are often caused by a driver’s failure to obey the posted speed limit, as this case shows. If a motorist is speeding when a light turns red, the driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting pedestrians. If a driver is speeding, the violent impact of the collision may throw the pedestrian into the air and cause their head or face to collide with the windshield or hood of the vehicle.  

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A driver was killed and a passenger injured in an early Friday crash in Hillsborough County.

It happened shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Falkenburg Road.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said a 30-year-old Lakeland resident was driving northbound and failed to noticed that Falkenburg Road ends at Interstate 4.

The vehicle struck a barrier wall head-on, authorities said.

The driver was not buckled up and died at the scene.

The passenger, a 34-year-old woman, was taken to Tampa General Hospital in stable condition.

Anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle must exercise reasonable care to obey the traffic laws of the State of Florida and  take reasonable measures to avoid an accident. When drivers fail to do so, this may constitute negligence, which in turn could give rise to a claim for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of income, and other damages resulting from the accident.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident because of the negligence or carelessness of another, you may be able to receive financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Florida law places time restrictions on when a claim, or a personal injury lawsuit, can be filed to recover damages from the car accidents so it is important to contact our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible after your accident. We will promptly investigate the accident and determine if you have a legitimate claim to recover for your damages.

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Pinellas County has the highest bicycle fatality rate of any major metro area in the U.S., according to federal data. Its per-capita cyclist death rate for the past decade ranks No. 1 among the four counties in the Tampa Bay metro area.

In fact, Florida has by far the highest per-capita bicyclist death rate in the country.

The number of cyclists killed in motor-vehicle crashes nationwide hit 840 in 2016—the most recent data available—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was the most since 1991 and a 35% jump from 2010.

A range of likely reasons explains the rise in deaths, including more overall vehicular traffic and driver distractions, according to people who track transportation trends.

Texting drivers is a huge problem. Alcohol is yet another big factor. In 2015, 22% of fatally injured cyclists, and 12% of drivers in these crashes, had a blood-alcohol content level of at least 0.08, the legal limit for motorists in most states, according to the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association.

While cyclist death rates have risen in many states since 2010, the three with the most fatalities since then—Florida, California and Texas—account for about 40% of all cyclist deaths, according to NHTSA, despite having 27% of the nation’s population.

Florida’s numbers are bad even when compared with other warm-weather states. Its recent 10-year cyclist fatality rate was 6.2 deaths per 100,000 residents; that is 59% higher than the rate in Louisiana, the state with the second-highest level.

State transportation officials say they have made a concerted effort since 2014 to boost cycling safety. The Florida Department of Transportation changed its standard width for bike lanes from 4 to 7 feet and now recommends buffered or protected bike lanes. The agency launched a $100 million push in 2016 to better light 2,500 locations where the number of nighttime crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists was high.

The state agency also lowered speed limits in some places, officials said. Local police have stepped up education efforts on topics such as using lights at night and riding with the flow of traffic.

Cycling deaths in Florida fell to 116 in 2017, the fewest since 2010 and a significant drop from recent years, according to preliminary state data. But so far this year, bike fatalities involving motor-vehicles are trending higher: Through Sept. 23, the state said 95 cyclists had been killed in such accidents, putting it on track for about 130 for the year.

Six of those bicyclists died in Pinellas County, which includes the coastal cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

When a motorist is found to have caused a fatal bicycle accident, they may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. While not all fatal accidents are considered wrongful deaths, those that are caused by another person’s negligence are. In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the family, usually the parents, spouse or children of the victim, and any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”

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Residents are urging the Florida Department of Transportation for a traffic light at the intersection where two teens were killed this past weekend.

FDOT says it has already taken measures to make that intersection safer and has plans to do more in about five years.

Lakewood Ranch High School students and families are coping with the loss of 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy who were killed in a crash on Saturday.

Troopers said the 17-year-old was making a left hand turn onto Pope Road in the Greyhawk Landing community and didn’t see a pickup truck that crashed into their car.

Residents have complained about the dangerous intersection on State Road 64 for a couple of years.

FDOT says it added a “directionalized medium” — white posts — that prevent people from turning left onto State Road 64. That change was made earlier this year.

There were 17 accidents last year at that intersection and have been seven so far this year.

The FDOT also plans to add a roundabout in 2023.

Each year the Federal Highway Administration reports approximately 2.5 million intersection accidents. Most of these collisions involve left turns. Across the United States, 40 percent of all crashes involve intersections, the second largest category of auto accidents, led only by rear end collisions.

Street intersection car accidents can result in serious personal injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, burn injuries, internal injuries and even wrongful death. Head-on collisions, T-bone crashes and rear-end collisions are all possibilities at street intersections.

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The Florida Highway Patrol is currently investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle colliding with a school bus in Pinellas County Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators said the crash occurred at the intersection of 62nd Avenue North and 28th St. North. The bus was traveling west on 62nd Avenue, while the motorcycle, driven by a 21-year-old man, approached the intersection from the opposite direction.

When both vehicles reached the intersection, the bus driver turned the bus left onto 28th St. North, driving into the motorcyclists path, according to investigators. The motorcycle struck the right side of the bus, and the 21-year-old suffered fatal injuries in the collision.

None of the students or staff on board the bus were injured.

Motorcycle accidents are unfortunately far too common. School buses are larger vehicles sharing the road, so one small mistake on behalf of the driver can easily result in serious injuries and even death to motorcyclists involved in collisions.

Our Tampa Bay area Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton investigate bus accidents aggressively, and we will work to make sure you and/or your surviving loved ones get the full and fair compensation for serious injuries or wrongful death. Sometimes just settlements can be achieved through negotiations out of court, but we are not afraid to try the case in court. Our goal is to make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of financially in the future for the suffering endured.

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A bicyclist was hospitalized Monday morning after he was struck by a vehicle in Pinellas Park.

The crash occurred just after midnight at 62nd Avenue and 66th Street North.

Police said the bicyclist, an adult male, was hit in the northbound lanes, resulting in serious injuries.

He was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Traffic Homicide Investigators are investigating the crash due to the severity of the man’s injuries.

No other information has been released.

If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident and suffered serious injuries, our Tampa Bay Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. We have the experience, knowledge and resources to help you recover the full and fair financial compensation that you are entitled to for the injuries that you have suffered.

We can help you obtain compensation for all types of serious bicycle injuries, including:

Bicycles offer minimal protection to riders. With just a helmet that the rider is wearing, bicycle accidents are often serious and leave injury victims suffering severe injuries. This is why our injury lawyers fight aggressively fight to help obtain the financial compensation to which you are entitled for your suffering.

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