Posted On: December 31, 2010

FHP Reports DUI Played Part in Fatal Wreck in Anthony, FL

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is reporting that one of two drivers involved in a two-vehicle crash that claimed four lives several months ago in Anthony, FL was intoxicated, according to a story in The Ocala Banner.

FHP troopers say the driver of one of the vehicles registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.148 percent, while his passenger had a blood alcohol level of 1.116 percent. The state’s defines driving under the influence at a legal limit above 0.08 percent.

Unfortunately, the late August Florida car crash crash on Northeast Jacksonville Road north of 110th Street killed two passengers in the other vehicle who were not impaired.

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Posted On: December 30, 2010

Tampa Hit-and-Run Accident Kills Student, Driver Sentenced to 15 Years

WTSP Television in Tampa is reporting that the hit-and-run driver who left a Tampa student dead on Kennedy Boulevard and scarred his 20-year old friend for life, pled guilty on December 21, to two counts of leaving the scene with a fatality and will serve 15 years in prison with 15 years probation to follow.

According to police, the driver admitted his part in the hit-and-run which occurred in November of 2009 when a group of young people was crossing Kennedy Boulevard to get some food. The driver says he panicked and left the scene and ditched the car which was later found by police and traced back to the driver.

The young man was hospitalized but declared brain dead days after the collision. The 20-year-old woman, contacted at her home in Pennsylvania, said she cannot open her jaw and surgery is too risky because there are bone fragments close to her brain.

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Posted On: December 29, 2010

Orlando Pedestrian Accident in Crosswalk Kills One Sister, Injures Another

This is a very sad story to report from Orlando where one of two sisters crossing Alafaya Trail has died after both were hit by vehicles when crossing against the busy flow of traffic Thursday night, December 23. The Orlando Sentinel reports the first car, an orange Jeep SUV, struck the two about 7 p.m. at a crosswalk near the University of Central Florida as they were crossing from the west to the east side of Alafaya Trail. Then a second northbound Toyota Solara hit the 11-year-old, who died at the scene. Her 17-year-old sister was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center and is reported to be in critical condition. Law enforcement reports that neither drugs nor alcohol showed up for either driver and the girls were not in the crosswalk, so traffic had the right-of-way when the girls were hit.

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the younger sister who has passed, and our prayers are for a full recovery of her older sister.

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Posted On: December 28, 2010

Newer, Safer Cars Reduced Road Fatalities

More new vehicles are being made with passenger safety in mind, according to the insurance industry group, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as reported by BostonHerald.com. It has released its Top Safety Pick rating for the 2011 model year, selecting 66 vehicles to win the highest safety ranking among the 191 vehicles rated. Among the winners are 40 cars and 25 sport-utility vehicles. Only 27 vehicles made the grade at the beginning of 2010.

Among the improvements, shared by every major automaker which had one car in the top ranking, were roof strength improvements to protect passengers in a rollover accident. Newer model cars have added airbags in 92% of new models, both front and side airbags, while electronic stability control is now on nearly all 2011 cars (92%), all SUVs, and 72% of pickups.

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Posted On: December 27, 2010

Mother of Hurricanes Player Killed in Central Florida Car Crash

The mother of a University of Miami Hurricanes sophomore running back was killed Monday, December 20, in a Haines City two-vehicle crash that also injured his sister and her 5-year-old son.

Fox News reports that Mike James’ sister was driving the Ford Explorer in the Polk county town when it was hit at an intersection by a Toyota Corolla. The mother, Elgusta James, 47, who was not wearing her seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle, as was the 5-year-old. The boy was hospitalized in Orlando and is reported to be in serious condition, and his mother was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. There were no charges immediately filed against the Toyota driver, who was not seriously injured.

James left the Coral Gables campus to be with his family and is uncertain whether he will play in the bowl game on December 31.

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Posted On: December 23, 2010

Woman Killed in Head-On Car Collision in Orlando on Her Birthday

A University of Central Florida student was killed in a head-on car accident on her 21st birthday in Orlando on Sunday, December 20, according to a report on WFTV-TV.

The young woman was on the wrong side of Vineland Road when she struck another car head-on about 3:15 a.m. near a Florida Turnpike overpass. According to her Facebook page, she was studying hospitality and tourism at UCF.There is no word in this story where she was going or where she had come from, but police report she was not wearing a seat belt. The man in the other vehicle was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Her friends said there were many people who loved her and they will have a party in her honor. Our condolences are extended to the family and friends of this young woman.

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Posted On: December 22, 2010

To Inform Families First Alerts Emergency Contacts Following Florida Traffic Accidents

With the holiday season comes a surge of travelers on Florida roads and an increased potential for auto accidents. If you were to be involved an accident - who would be contacted and when? Four million Floridians have made sure that someone close to them is contacted when seconds count following a traffic accident. When you register two emergency contact names with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a loved one will be contacted immediately following any sort of crash on the road.

The program was initiated in 2006 after Christine Olson of Brandon, Florida, couldn’t locate her daughter, Tiffany, who had been critically injured in a motorcycle crash. Christine searched six hours for her daughter, when finally she was tipped off that her daughter had been taken to an area hospital only to learn that Tiffany had passed away. Christine never got to say goodbye to her daughter. After the agony she went through, Olson vowed no other parent would have to suffer what she experienced trying to find her daughter. Olson founded TIFF (To Inform Families First), a program that uses the two names that are registered with a person's driver's license or state identification card that can be contacted in an emergency such as an auto or motorcycle accident.

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Posted On: December 20, 2010

DOT Proposed More Rear View Visibility to Protect Kids in Back-Up Accidents

It’s something we write about all the time. Kids playing in a driveway or running up to an SUV to say goodbye to a parent, only to be run over by the driver who just couldn’t see the child behind the large SUV. It has happened far too often, with 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occurring every year from back-up accidents, that the government is requiring auto manufacturers to increase the visibility behind large vehicles. The proposal by the Department of Transportation (DOT) will expand the field of view behind SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks, by requiring a rear-mounted video camera with an in-vehicle display on all new vehicles by September 2014. The proposed rule was part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, named for a two-year-old who was killed by his father behind the wheel of an SUV in the family driveway.

Kids and Car Back-up Accident Statistics
The consumer advocacy group www.kidsandcars.org has supported and managed the aforementioned proposal for rear visibility so that vehicles meet a standard that allows a driver to see what is in the blind zone. The group says at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles in the U.S. every week. At least 70% of the backup incidents involve children.

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Posted On: December 17, 2010

Polk County Deputy Killed in Car Crash with SUV

A Polk County Sheriff's Office sergeant was killed on Sunday, December 12 when an SUV struck him at a central Florida 7-Eleven store in Winter Haven about 10:30 in the morning, reports WPBF. The sergeant had just exited his vehicle when a Cadillac Escalade driven by a 79-year old rammed into his police vehicle, causing it to spin 180 degrees. The Escalade also crashed a metal barrier and hit a store and the owner of the store as she stood outside. Investigators are attempting to determine what happened to cause the Escalade to travel out of control.

Florida Elderly Drivers
Many people assume that an older driver must be the at-fault driver, but statistics in the state tell a different story. Drivers age 20-24 had the highest number of crashes in our state in 2009 at 44,788 with 15-to-19 year olds responsible for 29,482 crashes. There were 2,000 crashes involving 85-to-89 year olds, and drivers age 90 plus were involved in 675 crashes.

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Posted On: December 16, 2010

Wal-Mart Female Employees Lawsuit to be Heard by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear the largest workplace class action lawsuit in history in a sex bias claim against retail giant Wal-Mart that was filed by as many as 1.5 million female workers who claim the store did not pay and promote women in the same way it offered opportunities to their male counterparts.

The Court, led by Justice Roberts, which is inclined to slow or stop large lawsuits against business, will decide whether Wal-Mart must face a single lawsuit or individual actions. To be a class action there must be a common set of facts that affect the entire class. The women argue that Wal-Mart has a corporate culture that reserves management jobs for men. Wal-Mart alleges that each of its 3,400 stores has a different manager, therefore a different hiring, promoting, and firing style.

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Posted On: December 15, 2010

DOT Website Shows the Personal Side of the Consequences of Distracted Driving Accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for issuing statistics regarding many aspects of transportation, including distracted driving. Last year, distracted driving killed nearly 5,500 people and injured 500,000 more. Now the DOT is doing more than releasing statistics – it is telling the stories of the men, women, and children who died in an accident caused by someone else was talking on a cell phone, texting, reaching for the radio, or was otherwise distracted while behind the wheel.

The DOT began a website titled "The Faces of Distracted Driving" and features a video that begins with the story of Margay Schee of Ocala, who was just 13 when she, along with 21 other students were on their way home from school, when they were stopped and rear-ended by a semi-truck traveling at 60 mph.

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Posted On: December 13, 2010

Florida Thanksgiving Holiday Accident Statistics Released

The Florida Highway Patrol issued a press release announcing the number of traffic incidents for the Thanksgiving holiday period during five days of enhanced enforcement from November 24 through 28. During that time, 23 motorists died on Florida roads in traffic-related crashes, but that is a 36 percent reduction from the same time period last year. There were 121 DUI arrests in Florida during the holiday, 4,921 speeding tickets issued, as well as 1,407 seat belt citations given. Altogether there were 3,990 motorists assisted by the FHP.

Part of the reason for the reduction in fatalities, the FHP says, is the agency’s efforts to educate the public about seat belt use and DUI.

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Posted On: December 10, 2010

JSO Sued by Family of Victim in Fatal Jacksonville Police Chase

She was a mother of two who was on her way to pickup her children at daycare on January 12, 2009, when a fleeing carjacking suspect was being chased by a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) deputy crashed head-on into the woman’s car, killing her. News4Jax.com reports the family says it plans to sue JSO for “negligently initiating” a chase at speeds that exceeded 100 mph in rush-hour traffic on busy Deerwood Park and Southside Boulevards in Jacksonville.

The suspect lost control of the van he was driving on Deerwood Park Boulevard and struck the vehicle being driven by the 24-year-old mother, who died at the scene of the Jacksonville car crash. The suspect has since been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

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Posted On: December 9, 2010

Cardiac Stents: Profitable but Are They Always Necessary?

A story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal questions the actions of a doctor who may have unnecessarily implanted thousands of cardiac stents used to keep arteries open. Senate investigators have zeroed in on the Baltimore area cardiologist as an example of health care costs out of control. He allegedly implanted 585 stents from 2007 to 2009 while he worked as a sales consultant for Abbot Laboratories, whose stents he used. The cardiologist was barred from local hospital privileges after investigators found many of those stents were unnecessary.

In the area of skyrocketing health care costs, medical devices are very lucrative. Medicare paid about $25 billion for stent surgery for six years up until 2009, according to Senate investigators.

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Posted On: December 8, 2010

NHTSA One in Five Motorists is Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

In its first ever analysis of drug use and driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data that says 1-in-5 drivers who were killed in car crashes last year tested positive for drugs, both illegal and over-the-counter.

The report highlights the growing problem of people driving vehicles after having taken medication, some being legally obtained. There is little information on how medication affects driving, although some prescriptions say they may cause drowsiness and caution against operating heavy machinery.

Many people assume only illegal drugs can be dangerous behind the wheel. In 2009, the data show that drugs were found in nearly 4,000 drivers killed in auto accidents, an increase of about 5% from a study done five years ago.

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Posted On: December 7, 2010

Johnson & Johnson Recalls More Medications for Defective Packaging

Johnson & Johnson is on the hot seat again after its consumer-products division recalled 12 million bottles of Mylanta and almost 85,000 bottles of AlternaGel liquid antacid because of a product defect. In this recall, there was a small amount of alcohol not noted on a package which came from the flavoring agent and amounts to less than 1%.

According to a Reuters article, the brands were manufactured in a joint venture with Merck & Co. at a plant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a different plant from the J & J plant closed in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania after millions of bottles of children’s cold and allergy medications were found to have inconsistent formulations and contamination.

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Posted On: December 3, 2010

Pedestrian Killed on Lee Road in Orlando

Charges are not expected to be filed in a pedestrian accident that took the life of a 56-year-old Orlando man walking on Lee Road Wednesday, December 1. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the man was on foot northbound when he suddenly tried to cross the westbound lanes near the intersection of Adanson Street. According to the FHP, the man was struck head-on by a 2007 Ford Edge driven by a 21-year-old. The impact sent the pedestrian to the driveway of a nearby Burger King where first responders found him in critical condition. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital but later died from his injuries. Witnesses say the man ran suddenly into traffic and there was no way to avoid hitting him.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Orlando is among four Florida cities cited as being the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians, according to a study by the nonprofit group, Transportation for America. Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville round out the other four.

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Posted On: December 2, 2010

New CPSC Toy Safety Report Highlights Rise in Toy-Related Injuries

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is assuring parents that through its efforts there are safer toys on the market this holiday season, as reported by NBC 15 News. Safer means low or no lead, usually found in painted items made in China, along with a reduction in phthalates, a type of plastic, reduced by a mandatory standard. The government has been working with U.S. Customs to try and track shipments as they come into this country to make sure toys are in compliance.

The efforts seem to be working. There were 44 toy recalls in 2010, reports NBC 15, and 50 toy recalls in 2009, down from 172 recalls in 2008.

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Posted On: December 1, 2010

Man Killed in SUV Rollover Crash in Daytona

The rollover of a Ford Explorer took the life of a man on Sunday, November 21, at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Otis Stone Hunter Road in Daytona, reports First Coast News. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) states the Ford Explorer was northbound around 2 a.m. when it suddenly left the road onto an unpaved shoulder at which time the driver then over-corrected the Ford and it rolled several times. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the Florida car crash and his passenger was taken to a Daytona Beach hospital with critical injuries. FHP officials took blood tests at the time to help determine why the vehicle might have left the road in the first place.

SUV Rollover Accidents
While we don’t know the year of this Ford Explorer, in May 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) upgraded the standard for roof strength, which is important to the vehicle’s occupants during a rollover so their heads are protected. These were the most widespread changes in 38 years. Vehicles weighing in at 6,000 pounds and less have to be able to withstand a roof crush standard three times their weight. Heavier vehicles between 6,000 to 10,000 pounds only will be required to withstand a crush weight of 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight.

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