Many Florida residents remember the devastating accident in 2008 when fog and smoke covered Interstate 4. More than 70 vehicles crashed because of the road conditions, which resulted in five fatalities and 27 injured. When a very similar car accident happened again earlier this year, people all across the state wondered if more could have been done to prevent these accidents.
The most recent accident occurred in January 2012 on I-75 and was a massive catastrophe that claimed 11 lives. That accident also occurred when smoke covered the road, seriously limiting visibility. As a result, cars smashed into each other, leading to what some people believe was Florida's most deadly accident. In an investigation into this recent accident, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement made several upsetting discoveries that indicate that the FHP could have prevented the second accident had they enforced several recommendations.
Despite a number of improvements that were suggested in the wake of the 2008 accident, the FDLE reports suggest that FHP officers were untrained, policies for road closures were unchanged and communication between officers and other authorities were almost completely absent. Even relatively obvious changes, such as formalizing road-closure procedures in the event of extreme smoky or foggy conditions, were completely lacking.
Because the FHP failed to make any of these recommended improvements, motorists in Florida were put in the same danger as those in 2008. Instead of working to keep drivers safe when fog and smoke significantly hinder visibility and driving conditions, the FHP neglected to make the necessary changes.
As details from the FDLE report continue to be released, people are getting a shocking look at what was neglected by the FHP. Had safety procedures and communication processes been improved, it is possible that the second accident could have been avoided and all the victims could have been protected.
Source: Ocala.com, "Deadly I-75 crashes show lessons not learned from 2008 incident," Greg Hamilton, Nathan Crabbe and Jon Silman, July 29, 2012