Car Accident in Ocoee

Ocoee, home to some 40,000 residents and traveled by many thousands more each day, espouses the motto, “The Center of Good Living.”

Situated to the southeast of Lake Apopka, this city of nearly 16 square miles is in fact smack dab in the center of Florida. It got its modern start as a small agricultural settlement in the middle of the 1800s. The word Ocoee is Cherokee for “apricot vine,” what we now call a passion flower. Perhaps it’s fitting that Ocoee was the site of the first U.S. citrus nursery, though the name was actually derived from a river in Tennessee.

The area retained its small-town feel until around the 1960s, at which time there was a population boom when numerous major roadways were constructed to run throughout the city. Between 1995 and 2013, the population ballooned from 18,000 to 38,000, making it the third-largest city in Orange County. Our Ocoee car accident lawyers know that while these streets and highways made the city more accessible to outsiders – and prompted expanding business and residential real estate opportunities – it also meant a more hazardous travel environment.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports there are approximately 20,000 people injured in Orange County car accidents every year. Additionally, 2,500 involve commercial vehicles and about 1,100 involve either bicyclists or pedestrians.

Some of the top causes of Ocoee car accidents include:

  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Careless driving
  • Improper changing of lanes
  • Improper turns
  • Red light-running
  • Failure to stop at stop sign
  • Drug impairment

The Ocoee Police Department also sites failure to use seat belts as a contributing cause in many fatal traffic accidents. Agency efforts to drive down these risk factors include:

  • Annual “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose” campaigns;
  • Quarterly “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign.

In a single recent year, the Ocoee Police Department reported 415 total crashes causing 309 injuries. Forty of those crashes involved commercial vehicles and more than 25 involved bicyclists or pedestrians.

The agency also has a number of traffic homicide investigators who take extra training to be able to investigate serious crashes, including those that result in death. Some of the traffic homicide investigators are traffic crash reconstructionists, who are available on an on-call basis.

Still, the value of an experienced injury lawyer for those seriously injured in an Ocoee traffic crash cannot be overstated. We contract with many of our own traffic investigators and reconstruction experts. In cases where there is a large amount at stake – particularly when the accident results in lifelong disabilities or fatalities – it’s imperative to have an investigator working to uncover facts that could help your case.

Ocoee Road Improvements

Ocoee is continuing is trajectory of population and business growth. The city has the capacity to accommodate an estimated 75,000 residents, which its expected to do over the next couple decades.

Already, the city reports there are plans to add 200 new single family townhomes and an additional 500 multi-family units in upcoming years. Plus, there is going to be a number of new subdivisions breaking ground in the coming years, resulting in 500 more single family lots and 240 more multi-family units.

Some of the Ocoee and surrounding area road improvements that have been made since 1995:

  • Florida Turnpike expanded to 6 lanes
  • East-West Expressway (State Route 408) expanded to 6 lanes
  • State Road HWY 50 widened to six lanes in 2014
  • State Road 429, also known as the Western Expressway, was completed in 2000, connecting U.S. 441 and Interstate-4, just south of Walt Disney World

This is all good news, except for the fact that it has resulted in an uptick in motor vehicle accidents.

One of the ways city officials have worked to combat this, aside from vigilant traffic enforcement via police patrols, is through red light traffic cameras. These fixtures are controversial, but proponents argue that they prevent dangerous red-light-running. The cameras snap a picture of drivers who proceed through a red light without stopping. That includes violators who turn on red without making a complete stop, though so-called “slow rolls” are often allowed to slide by reviewing police. Violators have to be traveling at least 12 mph to trigger the camera. The city has a total of eight red light cameras at six different locations in the city, all run by American Traffic Solutions.

Despite repeated legal and legislative challenges – including several before the Ocoee City Commission – the cameras have been allowed to stay. There are some complaints that the cameras are responsible for an uptick in rear-end collisions at intersections, with some drivers who might otherwise run the light instead making abrupt stops to avoid getting an automatic ticket. Of an estimated 85,000 “triggered events” annually, the city issues about 11,000 citations.

Other upcoming traffic safety projects in Ocoee include:

  • Reconstruction of intersection at Fullers Cross Road and Ocoee-Apopka Road by adding left turn lanes and reconstructing the traffic signal;
  • Widening and improving Marshall Farms Road north of SR 50;
  • Widening Franklin Street to SR 429;
  • Widening State Road 50 to six lanes (FDOT project), and also install lighting and landscaping.

These projects can serve as traffic calming measures, but they don’t eliminate the scourge of speeders, drunk drivers and distracted motorists.

If you are injured in an Ocoee car accident, we can help you recover compensation for your damages.

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