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Fort Walton BeachLegal Blog

Know your rights when you get pulled over!

It’s spring time, which means that more police officers are out there patrolling the roads. With more police on the roads on the lookout for drunk drivers and those exhibiting erratic behavior, you’re more likely to experience a traffic stop.

While many traffic stops end without incident, some result in a ticket or even an arrest and criminal charges. When you are in the middle of the traffic stop, it is not always easy to keep cool and maintain composure. With a little preparation, you can ensure that you know just what to do next time you get pulled over.

Trucking and distractions: A lethal combination

Semitruck drivers have to pay keen attention to the roadway. These large trucks are very heavy and are akin to projectile weapons when they are moving along. Distracted truckers can cause crashes that kill or injure innocent people on the roads. Consider these important points if you are sharing the road with semitruck drivers who might be driving distracted.

The top 5 distractions that can kill you while you drive

Everyone knows that distracted driving is a big no-no, but how many people actually think that they will wind up dead because they took a bite out of a burger or switched the radio station while driving? Most people don't consider those actions to be life-threatening. But the truth is, that momentary distraction can indeed be deadly.

Below are the top five deadliest distractions behind the wheel, according to one survey.

3 things to know about distracted driving

You never saw the pickup truck veering into your lane. All you know is that your minivan was hit and now you have to worry about how you are going to help your children recover from their injuries while you are trying to recover from your own injuries. As you get out of your vehicle, you notice that the other driver has a burger in one hand and a phone in the other. Now you wonder if that had anything to do with him coming over into your lane.

4 ways to spot a distracted driver this winter

Texting, talking on the phone, reading behind the wheel, and even eating are things you've seen other divers in the lane next to you do at one time or another.

Forty-five states have outlawed texting while driving, and since approximately 87 percent of drivers have admitted to texting and driving, it seems only a fraction of people adhere to those laws.

Staying focused while driving during the holidays

In June of 2015, Florida unveiled a safety campaign to address the problem of distracted driving. In an effort to encourage drivers to pull over in order to use their phones, the state has introduced "Safe Phone Zones" which include designated rest areas and welcome centers.

While Florida has provided more safe zones than any other state, there were still almost 46,000 distracted driving accidents last year. This was up from a reported 39,036 accidents in 2013.

FHP targets aggressive drivers amid surge in trucking fatalities

Florida law enforcement has kicked off its Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, or TACT, campaign, which runs through Oct. 20. The goal is to put a stop to dangerous, aggressive behavior on the roadways, including:

  • Speeding
  • Weaving
  • Tailgating

Law enforcement will be looking for drivers of both passenger vehicles and large trucks who are driving aggressively and causing hazards.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the yearly campaign is more important than ever because it comes after federal data showed that fatal highway accidents are on the rise nationally. In fact, the number of deaths in 2015 was the highest it has been since the 1960s, which has safety experts concerned.

Many fatal accidents are caused by the factors being targeted in the campaign. These behaviors can be especially dangerous when tractor trailers and large trucks are involved.

When do pedestrians have the right of way in Florida?

When a traffic signal is available, it is obvious who has the right-of-way. But what about when there is no signal, or no painted crosswalk?

Florida's traffic laws are a two-way street. Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to do their part in preventing pedestrian accidents.

Under state law (Florida Statutes 316.130), drivers must exercise care in avoiding pedestrians in the roadway.

Pedestrians are also responsible for obeying any official traffic control device that applies to them.

Additionally, pedestrians are not allowed to walk on the roadway when a sidewalk is available, and they are instructed to walk on the left shoulder of the roadway facing traffic when a sidewalk is not available.

Recent study indicates sharp spike in roadway fatalities

A recent study shows that the United States has seen the deadliest year of car accidents since 2007. Even worse, the National Safety Council revealed that the state of Florida has suffered the worst from the increase in car accident-related deaths.

Traffic deaths have increased by 9 percent this year when comparing the first six months of 2015 to the first six months of 2016. Furthermore, the 2016 figures are an 18 percent increase from 2014 figures. Meanwhile, Florida has been hit by a 43 percent rise in traffic-related deaths. In total, nationwide traffic deaths during the first half of 2016 amount to an estimated 1,555.

Drivers and pedestrians Beware: Alcohol-related collisions spike over Labor Day

Many Americans like to take full advantage of Labor Day weekend. From barbecues to hiking and other outdoor festivities, the holiday provides a much needed break from typical work obligations. Plus, it's a prime opportunity to visit with relatives and friends in nearby areas and adjoining areas.

On a grimmer note, drunk drivers make driving over Labor Day quite hazardous. The increase in the number of drivers on the road when paired with widespread celebrations and parties result in a dangerous combination.

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Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

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