When the combined effects of fog and heavy smoke covered I 75 in Central Florida, it triggered several chain reaction accidents that killed at least 11 people. Most were incinerated as cars, trucks and buses piggy-backed and exploded. The State Police had originally closed the interstate after a Dept. of Forestry warning then reopened it.
Television News, as ABC News did in this dramatization, can play a significant role in raising questions how to handle highways when weather conditions change. What led the State Police to reopen I 75, who had oversight, who checked with the Weather Service, and who was monitoring conditions on the ground?
Even though this was a big story locally for Florida stations, every market’s viewers and users can relate to driving in poor visibility. We can all relate to driving rainstorms, dense fog, and “white-outs” whatever climate you live in. If you layer in smoke from a roadside fire, you simply can’t see. Use your storytelling and investigative resources to demonstrate what happened and hold the right people accountable.