Jacksonville Beach SUV Accident Inspires New Police Driving Policy

Depending on where you live in Florida, there are different policies allowing vehicles on the beach. Currently, the Jacksonville Beach police department is tightening some standards after a police SUV ran over a sunbather in a rather different auto accident in Jacksonville Beach than is usually seen.

According to a firstcoastnews.com article, professional musician, 41-year old Ann Marie Giffin, was pulled out from under the Trailblazer semi-conscious and bleeding from her head. She is just now out of the hospital and able to speak. We hope that she has a speedy recovery.

After the Jacksonville Beach auto accident on the sand, Mayor Fland Sharp ordered a review of beach-driving policy. As it stands now:

  • All newly hired employees and contractors must receive training on beach driving and safety
  • Current employees and vendors will have to receive refresher training on beach driving
  • Drivers will be required to maintain distance from the public and drive at a safe speed
  • Drivers will be required to walk around a vehicle in a counter-clockwise direction before turning around. (Witnesses say the SUV turned around on Giffin, likely increasing her injuries. The fact that the officer was making a U-turn on an incline also makes it less likely that he would have seen Giffin.)

An investigation shows Officer Lewis Keller did not see Giffin and that a laptop computer on a stand in the vehicle may have partially blocked his view, yet that obvious problem is not addressed in the new policy guidelines. Other options adopted on different beaches include a complete ban on beach driving, limiting the hours of beach-driving, or allowing only Segues, scooters, or ATV’s, which would offer more visibility to an officer.

Does Jacksonville Beach really think that training officers to drive the beach more carefully is an adequate change and the only change that should be made to the current policy to protect the public? Jacksonville Beach Mayor Fland Sharp said that with all of the vehicles driven by lifeguards, trash collectors, and public works vehicles, he’s surprised this hasn’t happened before.

Without any new substantial policy change, it is likely this type of accident will happen again, although we hope that it doesn’t. However, if you have been injured in an auto accident on the beach or on Florida’s roads, a skilled Jacksonville Beach personal injury attorney can determine who is liable for the beach or street auto accident. To ensure that you don’t miss your opportunity to file a claim or find out if you have a claim, call Farah and Farah today at 800-533-3555 and we would be happy to answer your questions.