Blog

The NHTSA Sponsors National Teen Driver Safety Week October 19th-25th

Florida Traffic Ticket LawyerNational Teen Driver Safety Week is in full swing and parents of teen drivers are urged to educate their loved ones to the dangers of distracted driving. This is particularly true for Florida residents as Florida currently ranks second in the nation for fatal crashes, with teen drivers accounting for a significantly higher number of those crashes in comparison to other age groups. It isn’t just teens who need to be privy to this information. Any novice driver could make pivotal mistakes — the kind of mistakes that take lives, ruin futures and alter physical and mental states for years to come. In order to better understand what National Teen Driver Safety Week is all about, here is a recap of the points being raised, along with the statistical data that supports the information.

Facts and Figures Related to Teen Driving

  • The National Center for Health Statistics and several other government organizations found fatal car crashes to be the leading cause of death in teenagers and young 20 year olds.
  • In 2012, 2,823 teenagers lost their lives on the road in a fatal car crash.
  • Programs, conversations and overall awareness is working — teen driving fatalities are in decline.
  • Even with a more than 7% decrease, teen drivers still account for the most fatalities on the road.
  • Leading causes of teen accidents include driving while distracted and driving under the influence.
  • Driving under the influence was found to be more prevalent in male teens, who incidentally, have experienced more fatalities than their female teenage driving counterparts.

What it Means to be a Novice Driver

Novice drivers are more at risk for collisions due to their lack of experience and education. For this reason, when picturing a teen driver, you should bear in mind the fact that the twenty something year olds who have just retained licenses fall into this at risk category as well. In order to shed a well needed light on this topic, the NHTSA is directing some attention in the direction of older novice drivers during this year’s safety week. National statistics show that delayed licensing is a trend, particularly in lower income areas where the price of classes, licensing and motor vehicles could put a burden on the family. In instances where drivers delay obtaining licenses, they too, should be made aware of novice driver risks.

What Needs to be Discussed with Novice Drivers — Teen or Older

The NHTSA is putting a strong emphasis on distracted driving since statistics allude to the fact that the majority of national collisions are caused by distracted driving. The NHTSA has put together a comprehensive list entitled 5 to drive which covers the top five dangers most likely to cause a life altering crash.

  1. No Cell Phones

The NHTSA is urging novice drivers to avoid using the cell phone in the car. This means no texting, no talking, no web surfing etc… All of these could cause a distraction that could lead to a fatal or hurtful collision.

  1. No Extra Passengers

Collision statistics indicate as much as a 44% increased risk for each additional passenger on board with a teen or novice driver. In many teen driving collisions, the additional passengers are the ones who are at higher risk for fatality.

  1. No Speeding

Approximately 48% of fatal teen crashes involve excessive speeds. Novice drivers might not be fully aware of the impact a slight increase in mph can cause, especially when combined with number 4.

  1. No Alcohol/ Intoxicants

28% of fatal teen collisions involve alcohol and DUI manslaughter isn’t the charge any parent would want their teenager facing.

  1. Buckle Up

Of the 15-20 year olds involved in recent fatal crashes, an approximated 55% of them weren’t wearing a safety belt.

The urge to stay alive usually outweighs the urge to keep up appearances for young drivers. Often, their irresponsible behavior on the road is a reflection of their lack of knowledge and experience. Talk to a novice driver you know this week, or next month or any time the mood strikes you. One conversation could save countless lives.

Tampa Teacher Driving Wrong Way on I275 Faces DUI Charges

Hillsborough County educator Kevin Thomas Smisor was recently arrested for driving the wrong way dui attorneys in hillsborough county floridaon Tampa’s notorious Interstate 275. After refusing a breathalyzer, Smisor was booked on charges pending a thorough investigation. For the Sunshine State, this would not be the first time a Florida teacher made headlines for a controversial traffic violation, one where driving under the influence has been called into question. The future, for Chamberlain High’s newest social studies teacher could be bleak if he is found guilty of DUI or other reckless driving charges. There were no reported injuries or fatalities at the time of the event, but the arrest certainly did something to jog the memories of local law enforcement officers who clearly recall numerous I 275 accidents and Florida residents who have been forced to watch teacher after teacher stand accused of behaving irresponsibly behind the wheel.

Florida Educator Arrests

In May of 2013, Florida educator Nancy Louise Vaughn of Estero High School allegedly blew .258 and .273 on two separate breathalyzer tests two hours after initially being stopped for a suspected DUI. Just a few months later she was arrested again for the same charge. She was reportedly making her way to the high school the second time she was arrested and has since been removed from the classroom. Meanwhile, in Collier County, Lake Park Elementary School teacher Amy Jane Daniels was accused of both DUI and cocaine possession.

In early 2014, a Paul R. Smith Middle School Teacher made shocking headlines for allegedly engaging in a DUI scandal where she was reportedly arrested for DUI and partial nudity. From Broward County to Lake County, from South Florida to Central Florida, the education system has been called into question. It is notable to mention that in the case of Nancy Louise Vaughn, the breathalyzers that produced two different readings could have also been called into question by a qualified DUI attorney in her defense. While the rash of teacher DUI’s has definitely rattled the Florida community, law enforcement is shaken by something much worse — the number of auto accident deaths occurring on Interstate 275.

The Death Count on I 275

Wrong way crashes on Interstate 275 are becoming an all too common occurrence and law enforcement is looking into making drastic changes to the stretch of highway. In a startling February 9th DUI event, five students from the University of South Florida were fatally struck by a suspected drunk driver. Since then, five equally shattering fatalities have occurred as a result of I 275 wrong way collisions. Drugs and alcohol were presumed to have played a role in a number of these devastating incidents and investigations are still underway.

In the meantime, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation is making attempts to launch a pilot program which would include the implementation of flashing LED lights and wrong way signs for drivers on the notorious interstate. The spokesperson has pinpointed the road itself as being the root of the problem, citing the fact that two of the crashes involved u-turns at a place in the highway where a median didn’t have to be crossed in order for the driver to turn around. Law enforcement continues to claim the drivers are at fault and that the road itself is perfectly sufficient but many concerned Floridians would disagree. New construction can certainly be a costly endeavor but part of the promotion of driver safety is providing drivers with safely constructed roadways. If the interstate is poorly constructed, Chamberlain High School’s 2014 social studies teacher could have an applicable DUI defense.

The Problem with Teaching and DUI

Florida teachers accused of DUI can fall under misconduct investigations and possibly lose their jobs or teaching privileges. The Florida Department of Education will usually investigate the details of a DUI case involving a professional educator. Disciplinary action in the event of a guilty verdict could have devastating, career altering consequences. For this reason, the allegations against Kevin Thomas Smisor should be thoroughly investigated in return, especially if the road he was driving on was misleading or unsafe.

The John Goodman DUI Manslaughter Saga Continues in Palm Beach County, Florida this October

Anyone who isn’t a fan of jury duty would definitely not want any part of the panel in the now attorney for dui manslaughter in flnotorious John Goodman DUI manslaughter case. Florida defense attorneys are prepping to sound off on behalf of the Houston millionaire who stands accused of vehicular homicide. It is rumored that his possible Palm Beach County retrial could last for three to four weeks on end. The jurists will most likely be sequestered and possibly pressured to agree upon a verdict.

As it stands, the Florida tycoon who was originally found guilty and sentenced to 16 years behind bars has been granted a retrial. Many of the details concerning the retrial have intentionally been obscured from the public eye.

What We Know Thus Far

John Goodman’s DUI defense attorney accused 69 year old juror Dennis DeMartin of withholding information in order to participate in the original trial. The fact that Mr. DeMartin’s ex-wife had been convicted of a DUI was never disclosed by DeMartin at the time of his selection and was only revealed in an all telling novel the juror scribed after the guilty verdict was made. John Goodman’s defense attorney has also implied that the juror had an ulterior motive when he joined the panel and sees the novel as further proof that a bitter ex-husband of a DUI offender simply wanted publicity and a guilty verdict. The Florida court claims that the lie the jurist told transformed a fair trial into a “constitutionally impermissible proceeding”.

More Secrecy the Second Time Around

Due to intense publicity from Florida’s numerous multimedia sources, Palm Beach County Judge Jeffrey Colbath is making every possible attempt to shut the rumor mill down until next week. He has reportedly mused over bringing in jurists from out of town with Jacksonville and Tampa being cited as possible alternate locations for uncovering impartial jurists. While Colbath admits that finding local, impartial jurists poses a bit of a challenge, he has openly refused to make any efforts to relocate the entire trial to Tampa. Based on his new approach towards secrecy, he might have refused these requests in order to keep the public in the dark.

The blanket of mystery doesn’t end at the jury selection this time around. The defense also mentioned that the car allegedly involved in the incident was released, resold and altered without court permission. Mr. Goodman’s defense attorneys claim the vehicle was to blame for the fatal event that claimed the life of 23 year old Scott Patrick Wilson and that their client, Mr. Goodman experienced an unforeseeable vehicle malfunction just before the collision occurred. They claim that alterations and the removal of the vehicle in question hindered their ability to expand upon this defense. In short, most of the evidence presented in the original case is now being called into question. This means more secrecy, more scrutiny and the possibility of a lengthier trial.

Can a Lengthier Trial Raise the Chances of a Guilty Verdict?

Goodman’s DUI defense attorneys claim that using a sequestered jury could put the jurists in favor of the prosecution. Colbath, on the other hand, claims that both Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman were tried under sequestered juries who sided with the defense. High profile cases appear to be a dream come true for jurists like Dennis DeMartin who wish to profit post trial and an absolute nightmare for unbiased participants who would prefer to spend their month at home in their own beds.

The Initial Accusation

In the madness and secrecy surrounding the Goodman trial, it’s easy to forget what he was originally accused of to begin with. As a refresher for those who have been following the case and a summary for those who are unfamiliar with the details, multimillionaire John Goodman was accused of crashing his 2007 Bentley convertible and taking the life of a 23 year old in the process. Afterwards, he allegedly fled the scene of the crime. Those are serious accusations and the fact that Goodman is a high profile citizen shouldn’t hinder his right to a fair trial.