In Florida and other States, class road trips to Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and Sea World can be great fun. Some class road trips, however, turn out to be tragic. Recently a South Florida high school student (Elizabeth Codie Lewis – age 17) from South Florida College Preparatory School died in an automobile accident on the Florida Turnpike. She was the passenger in a vehicle driven by Livingston James Finely. Florida Highway Patrol reported that Finely probably fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle. Many others were injured in this crash as well.
No passengers were wearing a seat belt. It is disturbing that not one person was wearing a seatbelt. However, this may have no impact on a potential legal case. In order for the failure to wear a seat belt to be valid defense, it must be shown that there was an available and operational seat belt and that that seat belt would have more likely than not prevented an injury or lessened the severity of the the injury. If the impact of the accident would have caused Elizabeth to die anyway, the failure to wear a seat belt is irrelevant for a potential civil or insurance claim.
It is uncertain if this was a school sponsored trip or what kind of supervision was involved with this road trip. It is truly sad that a young high school student with some much promise lost her life on Florida roads.
You can read more about this story at South Florida College Preparatory School Student Dies in Automobile Accident on Florida Turnpike.