Articles Posted in Car Accidents

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has opened the first two lanes (of four total) of the new State Road 52 highway in Pasco County.

The first two lanes opened on Friday and now provides a direct route from I-75 to U.S. 301.

The entire four lanes of the $82 million project are slated to be open by the early months of 2024.

Here is everything you need to know about the new State Road 52 in Pasco County:

  • State Road 52 begins at Uradco Place and moves east where it connects to Clinton Avenue in Dade City
  • State Road 52 ends at U.S. 301 near U.S. 98
  • State Road 52 is hoped to ease the traffic at the current State Road 52 and Curley Road
  • State Road 52 will be managed by Pasco County
  • The four-lane 7-mile stretch of road should be complete by early 2024
  • GPS, Google Maps, and other mapping systems have been provided the road changes, but will need time to reflect these changes in their systems

Untitled-design-17-200x300The new State Road 52 will not only be helpful to commuters, but also truck drivers as they can avoid travelling through small neighborhoods and towns. Pasco County has more distribution centers and warehouses popping up, so the ability to move truck more easily will be a great help to the county/community.

According to Florida’s regional transportation secretary, the new road is constructed from concrete, which should withstand heavy truck traffic better than traditional asphalt.

The new stretch of road aims to cut down on traffic pileups and give drivers a straight shot through the county. The hope here is also that the number of traffic accidents will decrease.

With just a few months into 2023, Pasco County has already seen 798 crashes resulting in 4 deaths and 824 injuries, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). In 2022, Pasco County saw 7,721 roadway crashes that resulted in 105 deaths and another 7,498 injuries. In 2021, 8,155 crashes were reported that resulted in 105 fatalities and 7,595 injuries. Data from 2020 shows 7,327 total crashes resulting in 107 deaths and 6,363 injuries. Continue reading

David Gwynn, Florida’s regional transportation secretary, said that the state is looking to make the 13 mile stretch of highway from Tampa to Pasco County safer by installing three traffic signals at dangerous, crash-prone intersections.

The state is also researching how to widen the U.S. 301 due to the high number of accidents as well as future projections showing as many as 49,300 vehicles using the road by 2040.

Gwynn told the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization last week that when he drives U.S. 301 from Tampa to meetings in Pasco County that he finds himself often speeding just to keep up with other motorists sharing the highway and prevent them from erratically passing him.

Shortly after sharing the state’s plan – just 16 hours later – a four-vehicle crash happened on U.S 301 just before 3 a.m. killing two people and leaving two others with serious injuries. The accident caused the road between Zephyrhills and the Temple Terrace area to be closed off for over six hours.

According to state data, 16 people have died and another 338 have been injured in 464 crashes on U.S. 301 for a five-year span ending in 2019. This crash rate is twice the statewide average for similar roadways.

From 2015-2019, there were 24 head-on collisions on the highway, with speeding being identified as the main issue. Gwynn said that impatient drivers try to maneuver dangerous passing techniques that can result in serious crashes.

The plan to turn the two-lane road into a four-lane divided highway between State Road 56 in Pasco and Fowler Avenue is in the study stage, according to reports. There is no money currently budgeted for this estimated $199.5 million job.

There are also concerns about the speed limit and whether it should be reduced to 45 mph.

Pasco-County-Car-Accident-Lawyers-300x300Head-on collisions are some of the most life-threatening car accidents a person can be involved in. These crashes happen when two cars bang into each other head on, usually resulting in pretty serious injuries and in the worst cases, fatalities. If you are lucky enough to survive a crash of this magnitude, then you are likely suffering from any of the following injuries:

If you have suffered harm in a head-on collision on U.S. 301, our Pasco County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can review the details of your specific crash and work towards helping you recover financial compensation from the at-fault party. Continue reading

skate-629740_640-150x150A 14-year-old died Tuesday morning in New Port Richey after being struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash involved a Jeep and happened at Moon Lake Road and Slidell Street just after 7 a.m. 

The child was transported to an area hospital but later died due to the injuries suffered in the crash. The child was a 9th grader at River Ridge High School.

The crash remains under investigation and authorities are asking drivers to avoid the area. 

At this time, no charges have been filed.

Anytime a child is hit by a car while riding their bike, it is every parent’s worst nightmare come true. Sadly, a child’s bicycle is no match for the mass and velocity of a full-sized car, so when these accidents occur, serious injuries and/or death are often the result. 

In most of these accidents, the chances are, the driver didn’t mean to hit your child. They may have been rolling too fast through a stop sign, texting while driving, or just simply failing to pay attention to their surroundings. 

If your child is struck by a car, your next steps are very important. Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list to help you think fast and preserve critical evidence. 

  • Take Care of Your Child’s Injuries/get them to the hospital
  • Keep the accident site intact 
  • Establish Witnesses
  • Call the Police
  • Collect Driver Information
  • Take Photographs
  • Talk to the Police
  • Hire an Attorney

The first, and most obvious thing, is to tend to your child’s injuries. There is a very high chance that they will be badly scraped up and bruised from impacting the car, but they could also have broken bones, a concussion, dislocated joints, or other very serious injuries after the crash. Do everything you can for your child and, if necessary, prepare to call an ambulance to take them directly to a hospital.

Whenever possible, try not to disturb the bicycle’s location too much while treating your child as this can be an important detail for later. You want to make a mental note of where your child was exactly after the crash. 

The next step is to identify any witnesses and get their accounts of the accident. You will want them to make a report to police once they arrive at the scene. If witnesses can’t stay because they need to be somewhere, collect their names and contact information so they can be called about the incident later on.

The driver should remain at the scene and speak with the police. If they leave, the accident escalates to a hit-and-run. 

Once the police are called, it’s time to make sure you have all the information you will need in the future. You need to get the driver’s full name, license plate number, and the details of their insurance policy. Try and take a picture of both sides of their insurance card so you can confirm the details later on.

We strongly recommend not conversing with the driver other than gathering their information. Don’t say anything accusatory, don’t ask for an apology. You do not want to say something that can jeopardize a legal case because you are upset after an accident. The less you and the driver talk (aside from exchanging information) the better. 

If your child is suffering from significant injuries beyond a few easily healed scrapes and bruises, then you need to call an attorney. While the law will hold the driver responsible for any criminal actions like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will need legal help to hold them personally responsible for the damage done to your child. This is where our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can be your best ally.

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A teenage girl was struck by a car in New Port Richey and was airlifted to a hospital as a trauma alert. 

The accident happened around 10:45 a.m. Monday morning on Madison Street. 

Residents believe a narrow sidewalk on a busy street is at least partly to blame. 

Pasco County Fire Rescue says the teenage girl suffered from a head injury and was flown to a hospital as a trauma alert. 

Residents say this is the second student to be struck by a car on Madison Street this year.

Residents agree that speeding is a problem on the busy street. 

There is currently no update on the teen’s condition or who is to blame for the accident. 

In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes across the United States. These statistics mean that on average, one pedestrian is killed every 1.5 hours. Every year in the United States, at least 100 children are killed in collisions while walking to or from school. Nearly half of all pedestrian deaths of children in or near school zones involve kids who are 15 or older.

Around Florida schools the speed limit is 20 mph. Special speed limit signs are posted around schools to alert you as you enter the zone. These signs have flashing lights to tell you when the lower speed limit is in effect, and there is a sign to indicate when you have left the school zone. 

When drivers failure to obey the school zone speed limits, accidents can and do occur. When traveling 20-25 mph, the stopping distance for an average vehicle and a driver with average reaction times is at least 56 feet. At 35 mph, the stopping distance is at least 95 feet. When drivers travel at a normal speed instead of slowing down in school zones, they add 40 feet to their stopping distance.

According to Florida’s State Uniform Traffic Control Law, a pedestrian is defined as any person travelling on foot. Pedestrians are required to obey the instructions of any traffic control device or police officer. Pedestrians are also required by law to use a sidewalk when provided and are not permitted to walk on the paved road. If there is no sidewalk present, pedestrians are required to walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the road facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.

If your child or teen is walking to or from school or bus stops, especially in heavy traffic areas, it is extremely important to go over safety points with them, including:

  • Do not walk distracted. Keep your head up and stay off your phone, so that you can keep an eye on traffic at all times.
  • Do not wear headphones and turn any music off. It is very important to be able to  hear what is going on around you like screeching tires, horns, sirens, or other audible indicators an accident might occur.
  • Always use crosswalks when they are available. Look left and right before crossing and continuously scan traffic while crossing.
  • Be alert and watch oncoming traffic when crossing roadways, even when you are legally crossing in a designated crosswalk with the walk sign lit. Not every vehicle will stop behind the white line, so it is important to pause at each lane and make eye contact with the driver to make sure that they see you and are stopping to allow you to pass.
  • When sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic, as far from the road as possible. Look out for oncoming traffic that may swerve, because the driver is distracted or engaging in any type of dangerous driving behavior. 

In any pedestrian accident, it is almost always the person walking who suffers the worst. When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, they are at risk of:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Back Injury
  • Broken Bones
  • Facial Injuries
  • Internal Injuries

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National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs from October 20-26, is a great time to address teenage driver safety. As parents, you have a lot of power over your children’s decisions. Research shows that parents are the biggest influence on their teens’ behavior behind the wheel.

Every year thousands of teens are injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes. In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old. In 2017, the most recent data available, 755 teen drivers died in crashes, and a total of 2,038 teen drivers were involved in crashes where someone in the vehicle died.

Teenage passengers are more likely to be injured in a car being driven by a peer. Some of this has to do with general distraction. The high rate of crashes among teen drivers is caused primarily by their lack of maturity and driving experience coupled with overconfidence and risk-taking, according to the NHTSA. New drivers are more likely to take eyes and attention off of the road, increasing crash risks.

To try and decrease the risks that teen drivers pose to themselves and others, the state of Florida has implemented a graduated drivers license (GDL). Teen drivers must obtain their learner’s permit first and then they can graduate to receiving their driver’s license, granted they meet the requirements.

To get your Learner’s Permit in the state of Florida, teens must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Provide proof of completion of a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course
  • Provide parental consent form if under 18 and required documents for proof of identity
  • Complete your permit exam
  • Pass a vision and hearing test

Once you obtain a learner’s permit in Florida you have some driving privileges, but they are restricted. The rules for operating a motor vehicle with a learner’s permit are as follows:

  • You must be accompanied by a licensed driver in the front passenger seat at all times. This driver must be 21 years of age or older.
  • You can only drive during daylight hours for the first 3 months from the date you receive your permit.
  • After the initial 3 months, you are permitted to drive between the hours of 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.

If you are under the age of 18, the following rules apply to getting your driver’s license:

  • You’ve had no moving traffic citations within 12 months of the issuance of your permit. (You may have 1 traffic violation where adjudication is withheld. Adjudication withheld is when you are not convicted of the offense, while still being held guilty).
  • Your parent or legal guardian, or a responsible adult 21 years or older, has certified you’ve completed at least 50 hours of driving experience, including 10 hours at night.
  • You must pass a driving test.

It is a great idea to use National Teen Driver Safety Week as a way to discuss the potential road dangers that could affect your teen driver. The best thing you can do is enforce the rules of the road.

The Rules of the Road

Wear seat belts

The car should not even be started until everyone is buckled up. It does not matter if you are sitting in the front seat or back seat or even how far you are going — everyone in the vehicle should always wear a seat belt. Over half of the passengers killed in cars driven by teen drivers in recent years failed to wear a seat belt.

Drive sober

It is illegal to drink before you are 21, and driving drunk or under the influence of drugs is illegal at any age. In 2017, almost one out of five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

Do not get distracted

Focus on the only task you need to – driving. Do not use your phone to text or talk, and refrain from doing anything else, like eating, drinking, or fixing hair and makeup. About 10% of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in recent years were distracted at the time of the crash. Encourage your teen driver to activate the “do not disturb” feature on their phone to eliminate the distractions notifications cause.

Follow the speed limit

In 2017, almost one-third of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding. When you speed, you limit the extra reaction time you need to avoid a collision. Every driver must obey posted speed limits.

Extra passengers are not a good idea

Teen drivers are at a greater risk for a crash when they have other people in their car. This extra cargo can be a distraction to novice drivers.

As parents, don’t forget that you are a role model. When your teen driver sees you following the rules of the road, then they are more likely to do the same. If you break the rules, then they think it is OK to as well.

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A school bus crash in Pasco County Wednesday morning left multiple people with injuries, including three children.

According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the crash happened just after 7 a.m. at Kitten Trail at Oakwood Lane in Hudson.

A vehicle collided almost head on with the school bus.

The driver of the small car was extracted and transported as a trauma alert.

There were three students on the bus that suffered minor injuries. All students refused transport and were released to parents.

The driver of the bus was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

When a crash involves a car or truck colliding with a school bus, the injuries can be quite serious as many school buses are not required to have seat belts to protect students in the event of an accident. If your child was injured in an accident where another car hit a school bus, you may be able to recover financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You could receive compensation for your child’s pain and suffering and other damages such as loss of normal life, emotional distress, and disability or disfigurement.

If the school bus driver is at fault, you may be able to recover financial compensation from the school district, which is required to have insurance to cover accidents caused by school bus drivers. However, this can be a long and challenging process.

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Four bicyclists have been hospitalized after they were seriously injured in a crash involving another vehicle on Ridge Road in Port Richey, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue officials.

According to the agency, the bicyclists were struck by the liftgate of a vehicle ahead of them that dislodged and fell open.

The driver of the vehicle initially kept driving, but Port Richey Police later caught up with him.

All four bicyclists were transported to Bayonet Point Hospital. Three were transported as trauma alerts.

The crash happened just before 7:30 p.m. when a Florida Cancer Specialist tractor trailer was headed eastbound on Ridge Road when the gate fell off, hitting the cyclists on the sidewalk.

Authorities said there were seven people on bicycles total but three of the riders were able to avoid getting hit by the gate. The other four were not.

Also, police said the driver kept going after the crash.

However, it is unclear if they even knew what happened. The driver is cooperating with authorities.

As of now, the driver is not facing any charges. The investigation is ongoing.

Port Richey is a great place to ride a bike. However, even if bikers use the bike lanes they can be injured by reckless or careless motorists who fail to keep a proper lookout out for bicyclists. Every year, numerous serious injuries and fatalities related to bicycle accidents occur throughout Port Richey and Florida, and all over the United States as well. If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, or if a loved one has died as a result of a car vs. bicycle accident, our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you during this stressful period.

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The mother of an 18-year-old killed in a crash is urging other drivers to be safe and avoid distracted driving.

The fatal crash happened on Curley Street early Monday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

FHP troopers said the man was traveling southbound on the street, approaching Curley Road, at about 1:12 p.m. when he lost control of his 1998 Toyota Tacoma.

He ended up crossing the street and entering the east shoulder before his truck overturned.

Troopers said the man suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.

His mother said her son wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and was texting just before the crash.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and according to the report, alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

No other information has been released.  The investigation remains ongoing.

Texting and driving is a leading cause of accidents across the country. When you think about it, a person who spends just five seconds sending a text message while driving 55 mph will travel over 100 yards while distracted. That’s almost the length of an entire football field.

Some of the types of accidents caused by texting and driving include:

  • Rear End Accidents
  • Head-On Collisions
  • Sideswipes
  • Parking Lot Accidents
  • Turning Accidents
  • T-Bone Collisions

Our Pasco County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to remind all drivers to pull over to a safe area if you must send a text message, or even if you need to make a phone call. Anyone who uses their cell phone while driving risks causing a serious accident. If a texting driver has caused a collision that left you suffering from an injury or took a loved one from you, we can help you hold the negligent driver accountable.

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Authorities in Pasco County are investigating two weekend hit-and-runs.

According to Pasco Fire Rescue, a toddler was struck by a motorcycle in the 7300 block of Oak Crest Drive in Port Richey on Saturday evening.  

Officials said the motorcyclist just rode off after striking the 2-year-old child.

The child was trauma alerted and flown from the scene.

No further information has been released.

Another crash happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, this one resulting in a death.

Authorities are searching for a driver that was headed north on US 19 and struck a bicyclist at Holiday Hills Boulevard in Port Richey.

The Florida Highway Patrol described the car that left the scene as a dark blue 2000’s model Saturn sedan.

Anyone with information in either of these cases is asked to call the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 847-8102.

A hit and run occurs when the responsible party of a crash flees the scene. Florida law prohibits this behavior, but sadly, new incidents are reported daily, just like these two crashes. Sometimes the responsible party leaves the scene even when there is an injury victim. For victims of hit and runs, this is physically and emotionally painful. They are left to deal with their injuries, but also left wondering how someone could act in such a negligent and reckless manner.

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A 15-year-old student was struck by a vehicle Wednesday morning near Gulf High School.

According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the teen was struck by a van in the intersection of School Road and Madison Street in New Port Richey.

Authorities said the teen was unresponsive and was airlifted from the scene to an area hospital.

The driver of the van is a teacher at the school and coach of the boys soccer team.

The teacher’s 7-year-old child also was in the van. The teacher, who told authorities it was dark and he did not see the teen, was quite upset after the crash, officials said.

Officials did not say what led to the crash, but police said speed does not appear to be a factor.

The teen underwent surgery and remains in critical condition.

A pedestrian accident is a common and tragic occurrence at certain busy intersections. Motorists have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians, and pedestrians have the right of way. An investigation into the circumstances behind a pedestrian accident can usually provide the evidence needed to help injury victims recover full and just compensation for their suffering.

Injuries caused by pedestrian accidents may include internal bleeding, broken arms or legs, head injuries, back and neck injuries, or spinal cord trauma. Fatal pedestrian accidents leave a family without a loved one. While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, recovering monetary compensation from the at-fault party can help cover medical bills, funeral expenses, etc. so that your family does not have any added financial stress.

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