Articles Posted in Clearwater Auto Accident Attorneys

A driverless bus for tourist pickups on Clearwater Beach is in the planning for testing on Mandalay Avenue, according to the city.

The City Council agreed during a recent work session to write a letter of support for the demonstration of a 12-passenger, self-driving vehicle along Mandalay. The letter will be included in an application for a federal grant to run the project.

The federal government in December announced $60 million in grants to entities that test the “safe integration of automated driving systems” into the nation’s road systems.

The proposed test, a collaboration between the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, engineering firm Stantec and the city, would run between October and January, before the height of the winter tourist season kicks in.

The proposed one-mile test route would run a loop from the Pier 60 area north on Mandalay to Juanita Way. A technologist monitoring the onboard systems can grab the wheel to go around stopped delivery vehicles and avoid other mishaps.

Onboard cameras will constantly record surrounding traffic and all incidents.

The Clearwater police and fire departments are on it on the project, too and have discussed using a lot adjacent to Fire Station 46 at 534 Mandalay Ave. to serve as a staging area for the vehicle, which resembles a small, square bus.

The location provides electricity to recharge the vehicle at night and access to wireless Internet, which lets researchers download data collected by the vehicle’s systems during the day.

Wifi is vital to the driverless vehicle trials on public roadways. Two competing systems are being tested in the country: One would have driverless vehicles depending on sensors along the route to guide them; the other system constantly downloads data into the vehicle to avoid collisions and make such decisions as where to turn and where to stop.

There are limits to the vehicle’s abilities, however.

It runs about 12 mph, and to ensure it runs all day without a recharge, the route it follows can’t be longer than a mile and it also can’t negotiate the traffic circle on Clearwater Beach.

The buses can still get in accidents. That’s what happened on the first day the Navya bus was tested in Las Vegas, according to city officials.

A delivery truck driven by a human driver backed into the shuttle just a few hours after a city ceremony launching the test in November 2017.

According to extensive media reporting on the incident, no one on the bus or in the truck was injured. Las Vegas Metro Police cited the delivery truck driver, and said the French-built, self-driving vehicle was not at fault. City officials wrote that the “shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident.”

Driverless cars or autonomous driving vehicles are no longer a thing of the future. They were designed with  cameras, sensors, artificial intelligence and algorithms to replace human drivers and eliminate human error, which is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, car accidents and bus accidents. However, like everything else, nothing is perfect and these driverless cars can be involved in collisions. Because driverless car accident lawsuits are relatively new, these claims involve thorough investigation to determine liability and a tenacity to initiate a new venture when it comes to pursuing justice for accident victims.

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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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Many Americans look forward to Thanksgiving every year as it truly is one of the happiest days of the year. While endless families throughout the United States are enjoying the day with their family, eating turkey, and getting ready for the rest of the holidays, others are battling with dangerous and reckless drivers sharing the roadway. As with any other holiday, accidents and injuries run rampant during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

The reality is, holidays always make the roads a bit riskier. There is always an influx of traffic because everyone is heading to a destination on or around the same day. Sadly, more drivers on the roads means more accidents. Many people are driving in unfamiliar areas, so they are probably more likely to be distracted by their phone, texts, phone calls, or GPS navigation systems. More drivers also means more traffic, which can lead to high-stress situations and reckless driving. Lastly, more people consume alcohol on holidays, so there is an increase in the number of drunk drivers on the roadways. DUI accidents usually spike on Thanksgiving weekend.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to advise anyone out on the road during Thanksgiving weekend to be safe and obey the rules of the roads. Keep an eye out for dangerous drivers, and make sure you are not one yourself.

If you or a loved one is injured this Thanksgiving holiday, we are here to help. We know how devastating car accidents can be, which is why we are dedicated to doing everything in our power to help you through this difficult time. Whether you are seeking legal counsel and care for your medical bills, emotional distress, or loss of work and wages, we are here for you in your time of need.

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A 53-year-old motorcyclist died in a crash with a truck early Monday morning.

It happened around 7 a.m. on Walt Williams Road and Walt William Loop.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2014 Ford F-150 was traveling south on Walt Williams Road.

At the same time, the 53-year-old biker was traveling north on Walt Williams Road on a 2014 Harley-Davidson FXDB.

Troopers believe that as the Ford turned left into a business parking lot, it traveled into the path of the motorcyclist.

Troopers believe the motorcyclist applied the brakes and began to skid in an effort to avoid the collision, but the truck and motorcycle collided.

The biker was transported to Lakeland Regional where he later died from his injuries.

Regardless of how safe a motorcyclist is on the road or how much safety gear they are wearing, many motorcycle accidents result in death. These sudden, unexpected tragedies leave family members and other loved ones feeling lost, sad, confused and even angry.

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There were more than 1,400 wrong way crashes in FL in 2015, resulting in 1,454 injuries & 96 fatalities, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Wrong way driving collisions occur when a vehicle has failed to observe a posted traffic sign or pavement marking and proceeds in a lane travelling in the wrong direction.

Motorists are encouraged to stay in the right lane to avoid a crash with a wrong way driver, especially at night and during transitional light times such as dawn and dusk. In most wrong way wrecks, vehicles are hit head-on, resulting in 81 percent of all wrong way fatalities. Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous crashes, and sadly, result in the most fatalities.

The FLHSMV offers the following safety tips for drivers to avoid a wrong way driving crash:

  • Stay Right at Night to avoid crashes with wrong way drivers.
  • Call 911 right away to report wrong way drivers. If you see a wrong way driver approaching, you should reduce your speed right away and pull off the roadway.
  • Stay alert. Do not drive distracted and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Learn and obey all traffic signs. If you drive past a wrong way sign, turn around immediately. When you see a posted red sign, think about what red traffic sign colors are for: “Stop.” “Do Not Enter.” “Wrong Way.” Orange is used for construction and maintenance warnings. Yellow is for a general warning and advisory of unexpected roadways conditions. Fluorescent Yellow Green is for added emphasis warnings of school, pedestrian and bicycling activities. White/Black are regulatory signs, such as “Left Lane Must Turn Left.” Green signs are for guide or directional information. Blue signs are for motorist services guidance and to identify parking spaces or disabled drivers. Brown signs are reserved for areas of public recreation, cultural and historical significance.

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The Fourth of July is the perfect time to enjoy food, fun, and maybe a few drinks with family and friends. Whether you’re attending a fireworks show or hitting the bars, Tampa is the perfect place to celebrate America’s Birthday.

The sad truth is that Independance Day is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. Fireworks, hot grills, traffic, and other hazards can cause serious injuries or even death. Drunk driving rates spike over the July Fourth weekend.

The best way to prevent injuries and deaths this holiday weekend is to follow the below safety tips:

Do Not Drink And Drive

The best way to avoid a DUI collision is to stay sober if you will be getting behind the wheel of a car. Too many people believe they can operate a vehicle safely after a few drinks, but the truth is that driving under the influence puts your life, your passengers’ lives, and the lives of others sharing the road at risk, so do not chance it.  

Look Out For Possible Drunk Drivers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, police use more than 100 visual cues to identify drunk drivers. Knowing the signs can help you to avoid a DUI crash. Some of the cues include:

  • Swerving
  • Almost hitting an object in the road
  • Stopping well before or after a stop line
  • Not using headlights at night
  • Using the wrong turn signal
  • Parking too far from a curb
  • Abnormal accelerating and braking patterns

Use Lyft Or Uber

Both Uber and Lyft operate in the Tampa Bay area. If you intend to drink or if your DD gets drunk, use a taxi or rideshare service to get to your destination. You can even split the fare with your friends. Even if you are riding alone, the cost of a ride home safe  is much cheaper than a DUI.

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A man on a scooter was killed early Tuesday by a car that had run a red light in Clearwater.

According to Clearwater Police, the crash occurred at 1:45 a.m. at the intersection of Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

Police believe the 55-year-old Palm Harbor man was on a scooter traveling northbound on Belcher Road when he was struck by a westbound 2006 Chrysler Sebring that ran the red light on Gulf-to-Bay.

The impact of the collision pushed the scooter into the side of a 1995 Lincoln Town Car that was also heading north on Belcher.

The scooter driver died at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

Police have identified the driver of the car that ran the red light and believe the driver showed signs of impairment.

The driver was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail on charges of driving with a suspended or revoked license in an accident involving death or serious bodily injury.

The driver of the Town Car suffered minor injuries.

Due to the increased use of mopeds and scooters, we have seen many more accidents, crashes, injuries and even fatalities. Lots of Floridians opt to travel by moped or scooter because of the pretty much warm year-round climate, which makes sense as these vehicles have much better gas mileage compared to cars, truck and SUVs.

A recent Florida study found the following to be common factors in scooter accidents resulting in serious injuries and wrongful death: lack of a helmet, the speed of the moped or scooter, the speed limit in the area of the accident, and the amount of traffic in the area.

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A Ruskin woman has been charged with driving under the influence after deputies believe she caused a crash going the wrong-way with a toddler in her vehicle.

On Monday night, two Hillsborough County deputies were traveling northbound in the inside lane of 50th Street South in the area of Habersham Lane when they say they saw a small sedan driving southbound in the northbound lane.

According to reports, they conducted an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with the small sedan but ended up hitting a small blue pickup as a result. After checking on that driver, they made a U-turn and caught up to the small sedan as it was approaching the intersection of 50th Street South and Causeway Boulevard.

Deputies conducted a traffic stop on the 31-year-old woman, during which they observed several signs of impairment. Deputies also noted that there was a toddler inside the vehicle.

Child Protection investigators responded and took custody of the child.

The woman was arrested for DUI. She has multiple suspensions to her Florida driver’s license for prior DUI offenses, as well as several non-extraditable warrants from other jurisdictions.

Additional charges are pending.

While not all wrong-way accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers, many of them are. It is easy for an intoxicated driver to not see signs or to not realize the consequences of entering a one-way street in the wrong direction.

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Two motorcyclists, a driver and passenger were injured in a crash in Clearwater Thursday night.

Clearwater Police and Clearwater Fire & Rescue were called to Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard just after 9 p.m. to assist with the accident involving a car and two motorcycles.

Both motorcyclists went to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, along with the 72-year-old driver of the Toyota Prius that was involved.

An 87-year-old passenger in the Prius was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital.

None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening at this time.

According to police, the motorcycles were travelling westbound on Gulf-to-Bay as the car was attempting to turn left from Gulf-to-Bay onto Belcher.

Both motorcyclists were wearing helmets at the time of the collision.

Motorcycle accidents often result in terrible injuries and in many cases, death. Fortunately, the bikers involved in this crash are not suffering life-threatening injuries, according to reports. It appears that both bikers were wearing helmets at the time of the collision, which is always a good idea because wearing a helmet only adds more protection to riders.

It makes a lot of sense to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. In fact, a helmet may save your life or prevent you from suffering a horrible injury in the event of a crash. And, if you happen to be involved in a collision, wearing a helmet will save a significant amount of time and worry connected with resolving any claim arising from the accident since helmet use is associated with a safe, responsible motorcyclists.

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Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in 2010. The law noted that hybrid vehicles are very quiet, especially when driven below 18 miles per hour. Due to this,  Congress required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop regulations for noise alerts on these silent hybrid vehicles by January 2014. This deadline was then extended to November 2015, and then to March 2016. Auto makers are expected to have 18 months to comply with the new mandates once they are issued.

Sadly, in the meantime, pedestrians remain at risk. Pedestrian accidents have actually increased since 2009, and the fact that people cannot hear hybrid and electric vehicles approaching the same way that they can hear traditional gas-powered vehicles places pedestrians at a greater risk of becoming involved in an accident.  

Drivers should always keep a close watch out for all pedestrians, especially those who may be blind, distracted or need extra time crossing the street.

If you have suffered harm from a pedestrian accident in Tampa Bay, you may have the right to recover for your past, current, and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expense related to the accident and pain and suffering.

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