New Study Suggests Distracted Driving in Florida and Across the Country May be More Pervasive Than Once Thought

With Florida poised to potentially pass legislation which would allow police to charge drivers for texting behind the wheel, there is renewed interest in the issue of distracted driving. While motorists and experts agree that distracted driving is major issue leading to car collisions in Fort Lauderdale and other cities, however, there is some disagreement about how distracted driving can be defined. The media tends to focus on mobile devices and while these distractions can certainly be a danger on the roads and lead to many traffic accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other cities, most experts agree that distracted driving is a much bigger problem.

A recent study from Erie Insurance confirms this. The insurance companies reviewed data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and concluded that one in ten traffic collisions across the country are caused by distracted driving. According to the study, the most common causes of distraction were:

•Daydreaming or loss of focus (associated with 63% of fatal distraction-related car accidents between 2010 and 2011)
•Cell phone use (12%)
•Outside distraction (7%)
•Passengers (5%)
•Drinking or eating while driving (2%)
•Adjusting car controls or devices (2%)
•Moving items inside the car (1%)
•Smoking (1%)

The problem with these types of distractions is that it is impossible to pass legislation to target these types of behaviors. It is impossible to tell, for example, if a driver is daydreaming or simply not focused on the road – even though this appears to be the biggest danger behind the wheel. While a texting ban may help prevent some truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other cities, there is no legal way to address all the possible types of distractions that can lead to collisions.

Instead, it is up to motorists to take the steps necessary to prevent accidents caused by distraction. According to Erie Insurance and other experts, there are a number of things that drivers can do to avoid being in (or causing) a distracted-driving collision:

•Pull over to make phone calls or use mobile devices
•Keep your mobile devices turned off while you drive
•Do not drive when you are having trouble focusing or when you are fatigued
•Provide a good role model for your children by driving responsibly
•Never drink or eat while driving – pull over and eat in your car if you go through a drive-through
•Adjust your mirrors, radio, and other controls before you start to drive
•Secure pets in a cage or kennel while driving – this makes the drive safer for you and your pets
•Keep your windows rolled up on warm days to prevent debris and insects from flying in your car
•Wear sunglasses when driving on sunny days
•Keep the interior of your car tidy

If you have been injured in a car collision caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to file a legal claim to pursue compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses associated with your accident. To learn more, contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free, no obligation consultation.

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