New Report Finds Florida Officials Made Mistakes in Reopening Road Before Fatal Crashes

by Carmen Dellutri on May 18, 2012

Cape Coral accident lawyerA new report issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that troopers erred when they reopened Interstate 75. As we previously reported on this blog, the poor visibility resulted in a series of accidents that left 11 people dead and 22 injured.

Notably, report founds that the Florida Highway Patrol lieutenant who ordered the reopening of the foggy and smoky highway shortly before the accidents was unaware of the agency's procedures and had no formal training in opening and reopening roads. In addition, the report noted that troopers failed to follow procedure or confer with other agencies such as the National Weather Service when they decided to reopen the highway.

As the report notes, FHP has policies and protocols that include checklists on major road closures and smoke/fog incidents. In light of the tragedy, the FDLE identified several key recommendations, including:

  • FHP “guidelines” for traffic control should be cemented as “policies” that “should mandate interaction between FHP command personnel and other governmental technical experts whose subject matter expertise may help FHP make accurate, informed decisions regarding the closing and opening of roads.”
  • “Florida's public roadway signage should be evaluated for its ability to appropriately warn travelers of conditions which may impact visibility on the roadways. Certain low-lying areas of the state, such as Paynes Prairie, are frequently subject to environmental conditions that may cause limitations in visibility.”
  • FHP should open an internal inquiry into a discrepancy in testimony a sergeant and a captain gave to investigators regarding their discussion of the conditions on I-75 that night.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If your child or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Cape Coral accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Cape Coral injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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