Spend any time driving in Florida (especially on I-95) and you'll likely see, if not be driving in, lanes of traffic outlined by tall plastic poles, which are usually orange or yellow in color. These objects are known as lane delineators. Lane delineators are often used to separate regular and express traffic lanes.
This has resulted in drivers exiting and entering lanes of traffic (often at very high speeds, for example on I-95) in areas where they aren't supposed to, which has resulted in an increase in motor vehicle accidents and deaths on Florida's roadways. This is known as "lane diving".
Stuart Ratzan and colleagues Stuart Weissman, Kimberly Boldt, and Mario Giommoni, of Miami-based Ratzan Weissman & Boldt, secured a $7.5 million settlement in a case involving a highway construction wreck that led to the tragic death of a 10-year-old boy, and brain injury to his mother.
The Daily Business Review published an article about the case where Stuart Ratzan was interviewed. Some notable quotes in the article are below:
"The delineators give drivers a false sense of protection. People driving expect that everyone is going to stay in their lane, but because half of the delineators are down at a time, people are cutting across at a very high speed and it’s causing a lot of wrecks. Even one delineator down can lead to lane diving and a horrific wreck", Ratzan said.
"Lane diving is foreseeable, and the further the lane delineators are apart, the more it’s likely to happen. The Florida Department of Transportation will tell you that it’s foreseeable. The way the system started is that they put the delineators 20 feet apart, and that was way too far because if one delineator went down, it was a 40-foot gap. Then they moved it to 10 feet apart, which was still too much because if a delineator went down, it was a 20-foot gap – and that’s the exact same distance we presented in our case", Ratzan said.
"The delineators give drivers false assurance. Your brain forces you to assume the drivers are going to be on that side, yet that’s not the case. It’s terribly dangerous."
"There are other ways of creating express lanes. For example, in Los Angeles, the express lanes are separated by reflectors. The reflectors in Los Angeles do not create that false assurance. They also have a $750 fine for people illegally traveling across them."
"The general public is concerned about lane diving. The reality is it’s going to keep happening as long as the system is the way it is, but we can do better and design a better system to prevent lane diving" - Stuart Ratzan.
Read the full DBR article here.
Based in Miami, Florida, and practicing nationwide, the attorneys at Ratzan Weissman & Boldt have established a record of outstanding accomplishments.
Together, they have obtained more than half a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for their clients. In the last 7 years, they have obtained more than $200 million in trial verdicts alone.