The Daytona 500 has come back to Daytona International Speedway following one of the closest finishes in the race’s history last year. The 59th running of the Daytona 500 is expected to bring plenty of excitement, as well as its fair share of bustling activity to our local communities. Race week begins today, Friday February 17, 2017 and will run through Sunday the 26th.
This year’s race may have a tough act to follow, but it has already sparked widespread attention for what is in store at the world’s only motorsports stadium this year. This includes NASCAR’s announcement made just today that the organization would be updating concussion protocol for drivers and requiring all infield doctors at NASCAR events to use the same type of screening test when evaluating drivers for head injuries. NASCAR also announced that a neurologist will be present at certain race weeks to consult with drivers.
Concussions and brain injuries have been a major concern for NASCAR and many other professional sporting organizations. The latest efforts to introduce uniformity and standard testing was sparked by the stories of many drivers who suffered head injuries on the track, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was sidelined after experiencing a concussion last year. Earnhardt had also suffered two reported concussions during a six week period in 2012. Other measures to re-design cars with additional supports, head and neck restraints, and safer barrier walls that can better absorb the force of an impact in a wreck have also helped to protect the health and safety of drivers.
In addition to new safety standards, NASCAR has seen a resurgence in its fan base. Following last year’s photo finish, local officials are expecting attendance to be high. Because an influx of thousands of race fans can create congestion and traffic in our communities, the Florida Highway Patrol and other local agencies are reminding everyone to be patient and to safely share the road so as to reduce the risks of preventable auto accidents. This is especially true when near the Speedway or other establishments that may be celebrating the race, as there will also be a significant increase in pedestrians.
Politis & Matovina, P.A. hopes all participants, spectators, and local residents remember the importance of making safety a priority as they enjoy the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, we know that preventable accidents can happen when there is negligence involved. As such, our attorneys are readily available to help anyone who may be involved in car accidents or other preventable incidents during race week.