Collisions on the roadway near Gainesville claimed the lives of 11 people and caused the hospitalization of 18 others due to dangerously foggy conditions. Currently, more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the families of those victims, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
As investigations continue by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, it has been alleged that officials with the FHP made a number of mistakes that may have contributed to causing the accident, including opening the highway when conditions were too dangerous.
Since the crash, the FHP issued a statement that said there was little chance that the deaths could have been prevented even with adequate policy changes or planning on their behalf. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, however, the FHP was at fault for not consulting with the National Weather Service about the conditions of the area and instead relying solely on police officers on the ground. In addition, it says, effective monitoring of the highway was not enforced.
The department also says that there were no signs or electronic boards on the roadway to alert motorists of the conditions and danger of the stretch of road.
Although the claims may be true, the FHP stands behind the fact that drivers did not adjust their driving habits to drive on the roadway in the hazardous conditions, including reducing speed. In addition, some crashes may have occurred due to drunk driving, although those did not result in deaths or serious injuries.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stated it will be conducting its own investigations.
Source: Huffington Post, “Foggy I-75 crash unavoidable, says Florida Highway Patrol,” Matt Sedensky, Aug. 10, 2012
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