Is There Really a Need for Speed? — Not While Driving

herman and wells
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Is There Really a Need for Speed? — Not While Driving

Driving a vehicle above the set speed limit allowed for a particular street or neighborhood is always a dangerous risk.  The risk is not only to the driver but also to others in his/her path.  You can never tell when a child at play or someone’s pet may dart out in front of your vehicle without looking.  Are people in that much of a hurry?  Is there really a need for speed? — Not while driving.  Is speeding, to get to their destination just a tad earlier (maybe), really worth all the potential grief that could come from a speeding ticket, injuring someone, or plowing into someone’s home?  It surely wasn’t for a recent grad-to-be on Saturday, May 20, in Lakeland, Florida.

Teen Was Speeding And Lost Control 

A 19-year-old driver lost control of his SUV, hit a fence, and went airborne into the bedroom of a mobile home Saturday, May 20.  According to BayNews9.com, he told the fireman who responded that he had been speeding and lost control of his vehicle.  According to a neighbor, who had been badly shaken believing the vehicle was going to careen into her mobile home instead, the young man wasn’t concerned about any potential injuries he might have suffered; he was worried for anyone in the mobile home that he hit.  Fortunately, no one was home at the time of the crash.  The distraught young man told the neighbor that he was to graduate this year.

Speed Busters

Last year, News Channel 8 reported that a former St. Petersburg police officer was very concerned about speeding along 9th Avenue North.  Leslee Lacey of Speed Busters was called in to help.  This area is said to have had a high incidence of speeding for almost three decades.  On 9th Avenue North, the speed limit is 35 mph and radar guns have captured almost double that speed on many separate occasions.  In one six-month period in 2016, the Saint Petersburg Police Department issued 44 speeding tickets between 41st and 49th Streets.

30 Miles Over the Speed Limit

In Florida, penalties for exceeding 30 miles over the posted speed limit can result in an offense of reckless driving, which can result in a fine of $400 or more.  No “breaks” are generally given for offenders driving 30 mph above the posted speed limit.  This level of severity calls for a mandatory court appearance, four points on your driving record, and even a possible suspension of your driver’s license.  These penalties double, of course, if a driver is caught in a construction or school zone.  Again, is it worth it?

Time for Another Speed Study? 

The last speed study for the area between 41st and 49th streets was conducted in 2003, said Mike Frederick with the St. Petersburg’s Department of Traffic Engineering.  Another study was said to be in the works in the near future.  In the meantime, Ben Kirby of the City of Saint Petersburg was going to look at the possibility of having a “solar speed pole” installed on 9th Avenue.

“Your Speed” Signs

Signs drivers see that automatically tell them what speed they are driving can be helpful in speed awareness.  Pole-mounted solar-powered signs have bright characters that are nine inches tall and can be read at a distance of 450 feet.  A great many accidents occur every year due to drivers speeding in residential neighborhoods.  If you or a loved one has been affected by someone else’s “need for speed,” contact a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney to learn what options you may have for justice in such an event.

If you have been a victim of an accident involving a speeding vehicle, contact a Saint Petersburg personal injury attorney to learn your rights.  Medical expenses, recovery time, and lost wages due to time off for such an accident can be costly.


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Teen Drivers Making Tragic Headlines

10tv.com, out of Ohio, recently highlighted a story that has parents everywhere cringing with worry for their own teens. According to police, it was a small sedan that met head on with a tree in Alexandria, Ohio. The impact caused the car to split in two. It also sent two young females and one male flying. The three, sitting in the rear of the vehicle, were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident and all were ejected when the car careened into the tree and died.

3-friends-1-1094299-mFortunately, the driver and front seat passenger chose to buckle up, which is likely the only reason that they survived the collision. Both were rushed to local medical facilities in rough condition. The state of the two teens at the time of the report was unclear. However, what the authorities did acknowledge was the fact that all five people in the car were under the age of 17 years.

Skid marks before the crash suggest that the driver was traveling at excessive speeds and lost control of the vehicle. This, unfortunately, is not an unusual story. St. Petersburg has seen enough teen-related car accidents of a similar nature. Traffic accident statistics are particularly scary for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old and this accident points to three big problems that have been trending among teen drivers:

Speeding and Risk Taking. Whether it is just an attribute of youth or the fact that they have not yet been placed in life-threatening situations, teenage drivers have demonstrated a tendency to take risks that adults shy away from. This means traveling at faster speeds, tailgating, cruising through red lights, ignoring stop signs, and other such foolish behaviors. These risks alone will increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident and also the chances of those accidents involving fatality.

Ignoring Seat Belts. As noted in this case, failing to buckle up can drastically increase the risk of dying in a crash. These teens were ejected, others have been thrown into the heads of front seat passengers, or slammed into the hard metal roof of an overturned car. Authorities report that teenagers, whether they are living on the West Coast, in Ohio, or right here in Saint Petersburg, are far less likely to buckle up than any other age group, putting them in greater danger on the roads.

Distracting Passengers. Teens that ride together are a distraction for one another. As we have learned via thousands of media headlines in recent years, distracted driving leads to car accidents. Conversation, particularly exciting or animated talking, can take a lot of the driver’s attention off the road. It only takes a driver removing his or her eyes from the road for a second for a crash to occur. Teenage drivers transporting their friends between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely to die in an accident and for each additional passenger placed in the car, the chance of an accident grows. Part of this is pure distraction and much of it can be blamed on peer pressure causing drivers to act more aggressively, to drive faster, and to push limits, which can land them in trouble with the police, with a personal injury attorney, or meeting a much worse fate.


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Excessive Speed Causes Accidents: Can It Be Prevented?

speeding-on-the-autobahn-689265-mIf you’re involved in a Saint Petersburg highway crash at the hands of someone else’s unsafe driving habits, it’s a double tragedy. In many instances where speed causes accidents, a tragedy that might have been prevented if other drivers hadn’t exceeded speed limits and/or possibly abused drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

In February, five people died in a Tampa car crash on Interstate 275 because someone was driving the wrong way on the interstate. Around that same time, there were two other accidents resulting from speeding violations that resulted in three more fatalities, one involving a motorcycle crashing into a concrete wall. Again, speed causes accidents. Their stories are shared along with the details of the Interstate 275 accident in the Tampa Bay Times.

COMBAT SPEEDING ACCIDENTS

You can’t make someone else’s decisions for them as they get behind the wheel of a St. Petersburg vehicle. According to the National Safety Council, “Speed is involved in about one out of three fatal crashes.” Trying to get other drivers not to speed remains a significant challenge. Speed causes accidents. What factors can help make a change?

• Speed Enforcement Cameras
• High Visibility Enforcement
• Speed Regulators
• Traffic Calming Measures

Speed Enforcement Cameras

These cameras have been set in place by law enforcement agencies trying to better enforce speed limits by catching those on camera who are breaking the laws. There is also “automated license plate recognition” technology that has been in place in central Florida since 2006, as this video demonstrates.

High Visibility Enforcement

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this technology is a universal approach to safety that is designed to stop unlawful traffic behaviors. In this method, a combination of very visible law enforcement efforts are utilized, along with a strategy to better educate the public about the laws and promote voluntary compliance.

Speed Regulators

With this device, sometimes also called a “governor,” sensors detect your speed and relay that information to the engine’s computer, which has in its memory the top speed that vehicle is allowed to go. In 2011, the NHTSA looked at mandatory speed limiters for heavy-duty trucks. The speed limits for passenger cars vary. If accidents caused by speeding continue to occur, could we be looking at more “speed regulators” in the future?

Traffic Calming Measures

These measures can include speed humps, speed tables, raised intersections, a speed table, or certain road closures.

    A speed hump can be used on residential streets; it’s typically not recommended for major roads or intersections. It is a raised area of pavement; the shape is generally round; and it can be from 12 to 14 feet in length.
    A speed table is a long raised hump, flat in the middle, sloping to ramps on both ends. It is most often used for local streets and main roads in small communities.
    A raised intersection is most typically used in developed urban areas, together with other traffic calming nuances.
    Road closures are a last resort and are often used to deter crime, as well as cut down on speeding issues.
    Neighborhood traffic circles include raised islands in the middle of intersections, which traffic has to circle in order to maneuver through. These are typically used in residential neighborhoods
    A Chicane is a series of narrowing roads usually forming an “S” shaped curve, using curve extensions.
    A Choker narrows a street by extending a sidewalk for local and collector streets.
    Center Island Narrowing occurs when raised islands in the center of a street narrow the travel lanes.

You can’t stop everyone from speeding and you can’t prevent all accidents. You can take precautions yourself and try to share information about the hazards of speeding with others. If you find yourself involved in an auto collision of any kind, it’s always wise to speak with a personal injury attorney who is familiar with the state laws.


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Four Reasons that Tractor Trailer Drivers Are Found Negligent

a-truck-1329363-mTractor trailer accidents occur far too frequently in this country.  We see them in St. Petersburg papers and via national news venues.  The outcomes are often horrific. Though, when one looks at the ratio of accidents per miles driven, there are actually far more car accidents than those involving semis, the large trucks cause a great deal more damage. There is a much greater chance that someone will be injured or killed in a tractor trailer accident.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or the FMCSA, is an organization in place to reduce the risk faced by truckers and others on the road.  However, their findings – which are published for public viewing, are disturbing.  They have found four trends among tractor trailer drivers that will, very often, lead to serious crashes.

  • Failing to Receive Medical Attention Drivers are under a good deal of pressure to meet deadlines and continue earning paychecks.  That fact cannot be argued, but that does not excuse the stubbornness when it comes to seeing a doctor.  All too often, truckers allow medical conditions to get out of hand, which can ultimately lead to heart attack, seizure, stroke, or other such complication behind the wheel of the massive vehicle.  The outcome, as one might expect, is rarely good.
  • Distracted Driving Despite the publicity that this problem is receiving – thanks to the invention of texting – distracted driving continues to occur with scary regularity.  All it takes is that two second diversion when looking down to change the radio station, read a text message, or when staring at something in a nearby field.  In just a moment, an unexpected obstacle can become a much more serious issue.  Distracted driving has been blamed for trucks being rolled in tight turns, for failing to stop at intersections, and for barreling through construction zones. It’s too easy for personal injury attorneys to argue negligence in these cases.
  • Speeding Deadline or not, the speed limits are posted for a reason.  Even the posted sixty-five miles per hour may be too fast when driving in inclement weather.  Choosing to travel at unsafe speeds has cost many tractor trailer drivers their lives.  It’s also led to the deaths of many innocent victims. The faster you travel in your vehicle, the longer it will take to reach a complete stop.  For 18-wheelers, this phenomenon is even greater.  So, what happens when the car up ahead has to slow down, or stop due to an unexpected obstacle?
  • Inexperience It can’t necessarily be avoided, but proper training can do a lot to help new drivers manage the large vehicles in emergency situations or unusual circumstances.  Inexperienced drivers commonly make poor decisions because they panic.  This can cause them to over compensate.  The top heavy vehicles can tip easily and are difficult to reign in after control has been lost.

It is important for people impacted by a tractor trailer accident to contact a Saint Petersburg attorney.  The impact of such an accident can be devastating.  Nearly half of all big truck accidents also involve a passenger vehicle and it comes as little surprise that the people in the car rarely fare well.  Unfortunately, more often than not, semi-truck accidents involve driver error.  Had actions been taken to drive with more care, the accidents may have been avoided.  At the very least, a lawyer may be able to help you collect the damages that you need to pay for medical- and repair expenses.


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