Are South Florida’s Highways Becoming More Dangerous?
As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know, highway driving can be dangerous. In fact, many of our clients sustain injuries, through no fault of their own, while driving on local highways and/or other roads. It is widely understood, of course, that you are more likely to get hurt when you are out and about (including and especially while travelling in a vehicle at a high rate of speed) than you are when you’re sitting at home.
But the reality is that for many of us, road and highway travel is a necessary part of life. We use our roads to get to and from school, work, the grocery store, the mall, sporting events, etc. All of these facts make the notion that South Florida’s highways might be getting more dangerous particularly unsettling. In this blog post, we are going to (A) explore the danger posed by debris on South Florida highways and (B) discuss a case in which a motorcyclist claims that poor Florida highway designs caused her to lose half of her right leg in a 2015 accident.
As our personal injury lawyers understand, according to an NBC report which examined crash information for Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, car accidents on local roadways caused by road debris increased by a shocking 60% over the past four years. How is road debris leading to accidents? According to NBC, drivers are “getting into accidents due to hitting the objects, or swerving to avoid them.” Ironically, swerving to avoid collision with a road obstacle can be particularly dangerous on its own—almost 40% of deaths nationwide were caused by a driver swerving to avoid a collision.
As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers know, one of the best defensive driving techniques you can use to avoid winding up in a debris-caused crash is to STAY ALERT. If you’re distracted while you’re driving (by talking on the phone, fidgeting with the radio, or by doing something else), you may not notice road debris until it’s too late. And then, at that point, you might be faced with two choices: either hit the object or risk causing a major pile-up by swerving out of the way. If you remain focused on the road ahead of you, you can identify objects down the road and switch lanes, carefully, to avoid hitting them.
Dangerous Designs for I-95 Express Lanes?
In 2015, a 30-year-old woman was riding on a motorcycle next to her friend, also on a motorcycle, heading northbound on I-95 in the express lanes, a route so many of us South Floridians have taken. Suddenly, a Toyota Corolla barreled through the flimsy, orange plastic posts dividing the express lanes from the normal travel lanes. The car slammed into the motorcycle riders. The women, though they survived, were left seriously wounded. As our personal injury lawyers understand, due to their injuries, the women filed negligence lawsuits against (a) the Florida Dept. of Transportation; (b) the company which maintains the express lanes; and (c) the driver of the Toyota which caused the accident.
One of the women sustained an injury so serious that, according to the Miami New Times, she had to be rushed “to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where doctors were forced to amputate her right leg above the knee.”
This is not the first time that the adequacy of safety precautions taken with respect to the express lanes have been questioned. Installed in 2009, the lanes—which drivers can access via a charge to their SunPass accounts—have been ridiculed ever since. One frequent argument raised against the express lanes is that because there is a fee to enter (which fee can climb to more than $10.00 during the height of rush hour), some drivers simply swerve into the lanes after the SunPass scanners, an incredibly dangerous—and illegal—maneuver. According to one Florida state senator, in Miami-Dade County, “there have been more than 12,000 reported accidents in the express lanes over the past three years.”