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Florida Traffic Laws Get Average Grade From Highway Safety Group

Florida’s traffic safety laws are adequate, a traffic safety advocacy group says, but they could be a lot better, the Tampa Tribune reports. The Advocates for Highway Safety, a coalition of consumer, insurance, law enforcement and safety organizations, released its 2009 Roadmap Report on Jan. 12. The group produces a report on highway safety laws for each state and the District of Columbia, grading them on number of highway deaths as well as passage of safety laws. Those safety laws include mandatory seatbelt, helmet and child safety seat laws; regulations on teen driving; and DUI laws.

According to the article, Florida scored right in the middle of the states, making it “yellow” (needs work) rather than “green” (good) or “red” (bad). Our state also got a numerical grade, 9 out of 15, which represented an improvement over the previous year. The improvement came from a slight decrease in overall highway deaths, as well as a new intoxicated driving law passed by the Florida Legislature. The law requires an ignition interlock device — a breathalyzer — in cars of people convicted of repeatedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Florida. However, the group said, it would have preferred that the law cover first-time offenders as well.

Other laws on the group’s wish list include:
• Mandatory helmets for every motorcyclist.
• Mandatory booster seats for children ages four to seven.
• Graduated driver’s licensing for teen drivers.

• Primary enforcement of seatbelt laws, meaning that law enforcement may pull over drivers not wearing a seatbelt. Currently, Florida law enforcement may only cite drivers for breaking seatbelt laws when the driver has been pulled over for another reason.

Not everyone agrees that mandatory helmet and seatbelt laws are a good idea, especially here in Florida. But as a Coral Springs auto accident lawyer, I understand this group’s concern very well. There are well over 40,000 deaths in car, truck and motorcycle accidents each year, and in fact, motorcycle accident deaths in Florida and across the nation have more than doubled in the past ten years. When people survive a serious accident, they often come away with serious, life-changing injuries, such as severe burns, brain damage or paralysis. And in almost every case, the tragedy could have been avoided if someone had taken a little more care.

Unfortunately, nobody can undo a serious accident. But if you’ve been hurt by one that you know was caused by someone else’s carelessness, recklessness or outright illegal behavior, you have legal rights in Florida. That includes the right to sue the wrongdoer for financial compensation for your injuries, property damage and emotional and physical pain. If you are in this situation and you would like to explore your legal options, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To speak with our experienced South Florida auto accident lawyers today, please contact us online.

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