Sarasota Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Manatee County Sees Traffic Accidents Caused by "Simple Split-Second Mistakes" from Both Ends of the Age Spectrum after Recent Accidents Involving Old and Young Drivers

Manatee County has seen more than its share of tragic traffic accidents so far this year. Three high profile cases involved older drivers: 79-year-old Doreen Landstra, who accidently backed into a crowd of people, killing 3 and seriously injuring 4 at the Sugar Creek Country Club; 90-year-old William Mitchell, who failed to yield the right-of-way and struck and killed 18-year-old motorcyclist, Hugo Arrellano, who was a beloved junior at Manatee High School; and 71-year-old Carol Pack, who drove through a stop sign and collided with a motorcycle being driven by Peter D'Agusta, seriously injuring D'Agusta, and his passenger, Brenda C. Spirely. These accidents triggered a flurry of articles and social media discussions about the issues associated with aging and driving, and prompted Manatee High School teacher Charles Kennedy to begin a petition drive for new rules to require annual driver's tests for people over the age of 80.

Heintz & Becker Motorcycle Safety Series Part 11: American Motorcyclist Association Says 2014 Farm Bill is a Victory Against Potentially Damaging E15 Fuel

Using the wrong type of motorcycle fuel can cause costly and dangerous engine damage. Of particular concern is E15 fuel (a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume), which, according to the American Motorcyclist Association ("AMA"), can damage motorcycle engines and fuel systems and possibly void manufacturers' warranties. On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly called the "Farm Bill", which contains a provision that will prevent federal grant money from being used to buy equipment for the distribution of E15 fuel in the U.S. The AMA believes that this is a victory for the owners and riders of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles ("ATV's") currently in operation around the U.S.

Construction of New "Sarasota Bay Walk" Bike and Pedestrian Trail Underway During Florida's Bicycle Month

Governor Rick Scott signed an official Proclamation declaring March as "Florida Bicycle Month." So, the timing could not have been better for construction on a new public bike and pedestrian trail that will wind its way through Manatee County's University of South Florida campus and the Powel Crosley Estate. The first phase of the "Sarasota Bay Walk Trail" will include a wide paved areas and an elevated boardwalk for bikes and pedestrians meandering along Sarasota Bay and is expected to be completed sometime in April.

79-Year Old Doreen Landstra's 1-Year Suspension of Drivers' License for Sugar Creek Country Club Tragedy Raises Questions

It was only a short time ago that tragedy struck Bradenton's Sugar Creek Country Club when 79-year-old Doreen Landstra backed into a crowd of people, killing 3 and seriously injuring 4. Landstra appeared in a Manatee County courtroom on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, where she pleaded no contest to a charge of "improper backing" which carries the maximum penalty of a 1 year suspension of her driver's license and a $1,000.00 fine. She will be allowed to reapply for her driver's in a year. Although he says he carries no anger toward Landstra, John Paul, who lost his wife in the accident, called the penalty of a 1-year suspension "unacceptable," saying "she should have stopped driving years ago."

Don't Miss the Hernando De Soto Heritage Festival Seafood Fest Friday - Sunday, April 4-6, 2014

Heintz & Becker is a proud sponsor of the 2014 De Soto Seafood Fest which will be held Friday - Sunday, April 4-6, 2014, at Palmetto's Sutton Park. In addition to offering the best seafood around, the De Soto Heritage Festival Seafood Fest is a celebration our local history and outstanding community. Widely recognized as one of Florida's most outstanding events, this year promises to be better than ever with first rate entertainment headlined by nationally known country music singer Travis Tritt and pop-rapper Vanilla Ice. In addition to the fantastic food and entertainment, there will be displays by area artisans and craft vendors, a children's area and fun activities for the entire family.

Bradenton's Blake Medical Center Hosting Free Health and Safety "Hullabaloo" on Saturday April 5, 2014

Bradenton's Blake Medical Center will be hosting a free Health & Safety Hullabaloo on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 9:00am - 12:00pm. The event will offer free health information, screenings and activities for adults and children at more than 30 interactive booths covering a variety of topics related to nutrition, fitness, healthy lifestyles and accident prevention. A variety of health and safety professionals will be on hand at the event, including local doctors, nurses, nutritionists, American Red Cross CPR instructors, firefighters, sheriff officers and policemen, EMS personnel, and Bayflight crew members.

Urgent Health Warning: Keep E-Cigarettes and Poisonous Liquid Nicotine Away From Children

If you think your new electronic cigarettes and vials of liquid nicotine or "e-juice" look really cool, how do you think they look to a child? Liquid nicotine is not the same as the nicotine found in a regular cigarette. Liquid nicotine is a quickly-absorbed powerful neurotoxin that is extremely poisonous - but it's being sold in brightly colored appealing little vials with tasty sounding favors like Cherry Crush and Chocolate Glazed Doughnut. Not surprisingly, e-cigarettes and e-liquid vials are nearly irresistible to children. The director of the Tampa office of the Florida Poison Control Center, Dr. Alfred Aleguas, calls it an accident waiting to happen.

Manatee High School Students to Campaign Against Candy-Flavored Cigarettes on "Kick Butts Day" - March 19, 2014

On March 19 2014, young people across the United States will be participating in "Kick Butts Day", a day of activism aimed against Big Tobacco and to encourage young people to be tobacco-free. The motto for the Kick Butts Day Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is "Stand Up - Speak Out - Seize Control." One of the themes for this year's activities focuses on "Big Tobacco's Cover-Up", highlighting the ways that the tobacco industry disguises their deadly products behind fancy designs, bright colors and candy flavorings. At Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida, teacher Denise Gill is helping to organize a day that will include petitioning for a ban on the sale of candy-flavored cigarettes, spreading the message of the dangers of smoking to students and families, and picking up cigarette butts around the perimeter of the school campus. Gill also has plans in the works for anti-smoking activities to take place on the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, which is held every year on the third Thursday of November.

Safety Tips for Partying During Spring Break

Spring break is a blast for thousands of college students every year. But the thrill of spring break freedom can come with a price for those that take partying too far or who otherwise run into trouble on their way to a good time. Many of those on spring break will be drinking and partying from the moment spring break starts until to moment it ends, so it is very important that spring breakers keep safety in mind and make the right choices to avoid trouble.

Heintz & Becker Motorcycle Safety Series Part 10: The Benefits of Antilock Brakes

Operating the brakes on most motorcycles requires knowledge, skill and control. Motorcycles can be equipped with what is called a "conventional braking system" that has separate controls for the front and rear brakes, or what is called a "CBS" which is a combined braking system which links the braking controls to both wheels. Regardless of what type of braking system a motorcycle has, "over-braking" by applying too much force to the brakes is a common error which can cause the wheels of the motorcycle to lock up, resulting in riders losing control and crashing. Many such crashes could be prevented by equipping motorcycles with antilock brakes which would prevent the wheels from locking up under extreme braking.