Four people died in an accident on I-4 near Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland, Florida. A 7 vehicle pileup resulted after a truck going eastbound changed lanes and struck another vehicle. The Ledger reports that the truck then went into the median, crashing through the barrier, and into oncoming traffic going westbound. The occupants of the truck were ejected and did not survive. It was also reported that a child died as a result of the crash. No further information regarding the child was released. Details regarding the fourth fatality were also not released.
The investigating officer suggested that speed may have been a factor in the collision. While speed is a factor in the severity of the collision, my analysis of this accident focuses on the improper lane change. At any highway speed, regardless of whether it is 55, 65, or even 75 m.p.h., the damage done is likely to be severe if there is an impact between cars. The relevant Florida statute regarding lane changes is below.
Florida Law Governing Changing Lanes
Section 316.085(2), Fla. Stat.:
No vehicle shall be driven from a direct course in any lane on any highway until the driver has determined that the vehicle is not being approached or passed by any other vehicle in the lane or on the side to which the driver desires to move and that the move can be completely made with safety and without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the same direction.
Always Maintain A Single Lane Of Travel
Putting aside the lawyer-speak, a driver is required to maintain a single lane until it is safe to change lanes. If an accident results from your lane change, you will be cited for the accident. It is very unfortunate that 4 people had to lose their lives because one driver was careless or impatient. Under Florida law, the deaths (except for the driver of the pickup truck) are considered wrongful deaths and are actionable.
Contact A Lakeland Wrongful Death Attorney For Help With Your Case