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Boat Hitch Hazards

Posted in Boat Accident,Car Accident Law,News,Personal Injury on October 3, 2014

Florida’s lakes and the surrounding ocean waters make it a popular spot for boaters, but when residents and tourists fail to properly hitch their boats to their vehicles for road transportation, they pose a threat to other drivers on the road. In one recent case, the driver of a truck was towing his boat on a main road when he caused a traffic accident that left him and his passenger injured, and caused damage to another driver’s car, our Florida personal injury law firm reports. 

The 60-year-old truck driver stopped on the highway to check the security of his trailer connection to his boat, and his passenger attempted to direct traffic around the vehicle. A distracted driver came up behind them and crashed into the rear of the boat. The impact disconnected the boat from the trailer, and the truck was thrown across the road, hitting the chain link fence of the nearby Patrick Air Force Base. The boat ended up on the A1A highway. The distracted driver was not injured, but was cited for careless driving, and the truck driver and passenger were treated for minor injuries as a result of the crash. The truck driver was also cited for improper stopping. It took traffic crews over an hour to clean up the site. 

Although both parties were at fault in the accident, the driver of the truck has a special duty to ensure safety when transporting his boat along the road. Checking the connection between the truck and boat should be done before getting on the road, our Florida personal injury attorneys say, to prevent an unexpected disconnection, which could leave the boat stranded and loose on the roadway, in danger of colliding with other cars. Under no circumstances should a boat connection be checked in the middle of the street, no matter how unpopulated the road is at the time. An oncoming driver could be distracted even for a second, and will not expect such a large obstacle on the road. Even though the driver is distracted and at fault for that, the boat owner is causing a dangerous situation, and is liable as well. 

In this case, the truck driver most likely suspected that his boat was improperly or insecurely hitched to the trailer, and by stopping, he prevented the boat from potentially hurtling into oncoming traffic and causing major accidents and collisions from cars trying to get out of the way. But by stopping in the middle of a major roadway to check on the boat’s hitching mechanism, he created a potential hazard for drivers to notice and successfully navigate around in a high-speed, busy, and unpredictable roadway. Unless there is a critical emergency, our personal injury lawyers recommend that drivers should never stop in the middle of the road. 

At the Florida-based Law Offices of David I Fuchs, our personal injury attorneys represent drivers who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or hazardous driving activity. If you have been injured in an accident, or have lost a loved one, contact David Fuchs to discuss how best to handle your case.