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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

NTSB calls for improved trucking safety regulations

Florida residents may be interested to learn of the National Transportation Safety Board's recent call for strengthened trucking industry regulations. The agency noted that Congress weakened safety regulations for the industry, despite 3,964 deaths in 2013 representing the fourth consecutive annual increase for truck-involved accidents.

According to a statement by the NTSB at a news conference on Jan. 13, the agency is calling for more than 100 regulatory actions for trucking industry safety, including anti-collision technology, stricter limits on allowed driving hours and increased oversight of violating carrier companies. One of the key recommendations the NTSB made is for the installation of alert systems so truckers are aware of the possibility of an accident when changing lanes or when they are about to hit slowed traffic ahead.

Injury and fatality statistics of motorcycle accidents

According to 2012 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,986 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents around the country. Approximately 93,000 motorcyclists were injured in traffic accidents the same year. Florida motorcyclists might want to make themselves aware of the occurrence of alcohol and speeding in motorcycle collisions.

In the motorcycle crashes for which data is available, 27 percent of the drivers had blood alcohol concentrations of higher than .08 percent. This percentage was higher than any other category of driver on the road. Additionally, 29 percent of the motorcycle drivers who died in the crashes had BACs of at least .08 percent. Among those fatally injured in single-vehicle collisions, 43 percent had BACs of at least .08 percent. Those between the ages of 40 and 44 were involved in fatal alcohol-impaired accidents more than any other age range. The 2012 statistics also show that 24 percent of motorcycle drivers involved in fatal accidents did not have valid licenses. Compared to the rate of speeding drivers in other categories of fatal traffic accidents, more motorcycle drivers were speeding, at 34 percent.

Hospitals mistakenly gave unsterilized saline to patients

According to health officials, at least 40 patients from seven different states, including Florida, were given unsterilized intravenous fluids at hospitals. The fluid bags had simulated saline inside, which is primarily used when health providers are practicing how to administer the solution to mannequins. Due to the incident, one person died, but doctors are unsure if the death was directly linked to the unsterilized saline.

The symptoms, which appeared right after the fluids were administered, included chills, tremors, headaches and fevers, resulting in several hospitalizations. News sources say that the products were distributed in May 2014, but it is unclear how the bags were delivered to the hospitals. The company that produces the solution stated that the bags are only sold to educational institutions.

Causes of Florida 4-car crash that killed 3 still unknown

Charges are pending the completion of a Florida Highway Patrol investigation into an early Sunday morning crash of four vehicles on Interstate 95 that killed three people and badly injured four more people. Investigators have yet to find the cause for the fatal car crash in Rockledge near the South Fiske Boulevard exit that occurred close to 1:30 a.m.

FHP troopers said the accident began when a 39-year-old man apparently lost control of his northbound Infiniti and hit the guardrail and median. Next, his vehicle experienced a head-on collision with a Hyundai Elantra. Another vehicle hit the back of the Elantra. Debris flew out and involved a fourth vehicle.

Florida accident claims the lives of 3 sisters

Three sisters returning from a holiday in Miami were killed in a crash on Interstate 95 on Jan. 4. The accident remains under investigation, and authorities are uncertain whether speed was involved.

According to a representative of the Florida Highway Patrol, an Infiniti driven by a Massachusetts resident who is 39 left the road, hit a median guardrail, turned around and hit a Hyundai Elantra head-on. A Toyota sedan, driven by a 25-year-old Hialeah Gardens resident, which was also heading north, also hit the rear of the Hyundai. The driver of a Honda Accord hit the debris left by the other vehicles.

Distracted driving in Florida

Florida drivers and other users of the roads should be aware of the growing dangers of distracted driving. Federal, state and local authorities are working to reduce the problem. However, recently published national statistics suggest that there is a long way to go.

For example, in the year 2011, nearly one accident out of five involved at least one driver who had not been giving their full attention to the road at the time of the crash. An estimated nine people die every day because of an accident that involved a distracted driver, and more than 1,100 people are injured under similar circumstances. Distracted driving is defined as the operation of a motor vehicle without regard for visual, manual or cognitive distractions. Visual distractions are those that cause the driver to look away from the road. Manual distractions happen when the driver takes their hands away from the wheel. Cognitive distractions occur when something takes the driver's mind of the road. Sending and receiving text messages, which is illegal in many states, is considered to be particularly troublesome because it incorporates all three distractions.

Powdered caffeine problems for FDA

Florida residents are normally protected from dangerous consumable products by the Food and Drug Administration as it oversees foods, medicines and beverages. In recent years, energy drinks have drawn a great deal of attention due to negative effects occurring after their use, an issue that the FDA is responsible for addressing. Statistics indicate that approximately 21,000 people each year experience effects that are serious enough to require emergency room visits, and there are worries that powdered caffeine could lead to similar problems. In a recent death attributed to powdered caffeine, the decedent used the product to avoid consuming the sugar and calories associated with many energy drinks.

One of the problems for the FDA in addressing the powdered caffeine, which is predominantly sold online, is that it is labeled as a supplement. Because of this, the product can be sold without FDA approval. While energy drinks include warning labels due to FDA requirements, powdered caffeine lacks the oversight and regulation that could limit its sale. The product has become particularly attractive to young adults and teenagers for staying awake, losing weight and boosting workouts. However, the potency is a serious concern to FDA officials.

Wrong-way accident kills 3 in Florida

On Dec. 25, a car purportedly traveling west in the eastbound lane of Park Boulevard in Pinellas was involved in a fatal accident, authorities reported. The head-on collision reportedly occurred at the boulevard's intersection with 131st Street North.

Following the collision, the wrong-way vehicle clipped another vehicle. According to authorities, police suspect that alcohol was a factor contributing to the three-vehicle incident.

Keurig recalls 7 million coffeemakers after injury reports

In-home coffee brewing giant Keurig announced a recall of roughly 6.6 million coffeemakers on Dec. 23. The recall was announced after numerous reports of defective coffeemakers spewing hot water during the brewing process and at least 90 reports of burn-related injuries. The popular Mini Plus Brewing System K10 models with a serial number beginning with "31" and purchased between 2009 and 2014 are the specific target of the recall, which may affect many Florida residents.

Keurig's recall joins thousands of other manufacturer product recalls stemming from defective products leading to consumer injury. Prescription drug recalls, dangerous children's toys and automobile design defects resulting in consumer death have created a culture of fear in which consumers are more wary than ever before of what products they purchase. In addition, manufacturers of everything from pharmaceuticals to common household products are reassessing their production processes in an effort to stave off product liability lawsuits.

Preventable hospital errors on the decline

Florida residents might be interested to learn about a federal report analyzing data on preventable hospital errors. According to the report that was released on Dec. 2, there was a 17 percent decline seen in the occurrence of preventable hospital errors between 2010 and 2013. Thanks to the improvement in hospital safety, $12 billion less was spent on health care, and there were 50,000 fewer deaths.

The writers of the report admitted that the reasons for the decline in medical malpractice were not exactly clear. However, they did point out a few factors that may have contributed to the decline. Improvements in technical help, penalties imposed by the Affordable Care Act and public reporting of medical errors were listed as possible motivating factors.

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