There are always ways to make Florida’s beaches safer and prevent accidents. Beachgoers shouldn’t have to worry about dangerous conditions caused by beach patrol vehicles.
The Volusia County Beach Patrol has started using utility task vehicles, and now Daytona Beach officials announced that they will soon replace the majority of its 20 large pickup trucks, instead using smaller utility task vehicles for most patrol functions. A few of the larger trucks will be maintained for specialized functions such as prisoner transport or towing vehicles.
The move was intended as a safety measure and was motivated, in part, by an incident in July where the driver of a large patrol truck failed to see a sunbather lying on the beach and struck the unsuspecting beachgoer with the vehicle while attempting a U-turn.
County officials concluded that the visibility of beach patrons was poor for drivers sitting behind the wheel in the large trucks. They believe that the use instead of the smaller UTVs will help reduce both the number of accidents and the seriousness of the injuries suffered in accidents which do occur.
The small UTVs, they assert, have better visibility, lighter mass, and a lower center of gravity than the big trucks. The new vehicles also come outfitted with padded bumpers, similar to boat bumpers, which are designed to lessen the impact and reduce injuries.
What do you think? Does this sound like a smart move? And what else could be done to prevent injuries on Florida’s beaches?
Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Smaller vehicles should improve beach safety,” Jan. 3, 2012