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Eddie Farah Reflects on Lessons Unlearned from a Massive Pileup

Posted on August 6, 2012

Recently, Florida fatal auto accident attorney Eddie Farah was reading a Gainesville Sun investigative report that compared a massive pileup on Interstate 4 in Polk County that claimed five lives and left 37 injured in 2008 to the more recent catastrophic pileup on I-75 on January 29 of this year that left 11 people dead and dozens more injured.

Both pileups were caused by limited visibility due to smoke and fog. While the circumstances that led to both pileups were very similar, according to the Gainesville Sun, valuable lessons learned from the 2008 pileup went largely ignored — lessons that might have proved invaluable in preventing the deadly 2012 pileup at Paynes Prairie.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) filed a report that looked into the 2012 pileup and made recommendations for changes in policy. Three months later, according to the Sun, none of those policy changes have been implemented.

More disturbingly, many of the changes recommended in the 2012 report were similar or the same as those that had been recommended after the massive 2008 pileup.

In the wake of the 2008 catastrophe, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) troopers were supposed to receive training to deal with smoke and fog on highways, but most received little or no training. Likewise, new policies that were implemented were either unknown to troopers or were ignored in the field. An official policy pertaining to road closures and re-openings when smoke and fog limited visibility was never fully developed by FHP, even after the 2008 disaster.

Frighteningly, now, as then, there is no mechanism in place to ensure that improvements will be made.

Eddie Farah and the entire legal team at Farah & Farah certainly hope that this time, Florida authorities will implement policies that make Florida’s roads and highways as safe as possible. Let’s hope the lessons learned will be acted on and will prevent injuries and deaths on our roads in the future.

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