On the heels of a distracted driving summit aimed at mapping legislative, law enforcement and awareness campaigns that will drive down the exploding number of distracted-driving related car accidents nationwide, Sect. Ray LaHood released two glowing NHTSA reports tracking ongoing seat-belt usage and minimum age drinking law efforts.
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers frequently report on a host of behind-the-wheel issues – from impaired driving to distracted driving to maintenance and child passenger safety – facing Florida drivers on our South Florida Injury Lawyers blog. Regarding seat belt and child restraint use, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 12,713 lives were saved by simply buckling up in 2009 and 309 toddlers were spared thanks to proper child restraint use. Since 2005, the NHTSA estimates that the increase in seat-belt use has saved more than 72,000 lives. The recent report also estimates that more than 600 lives were spared in 2009 through the enactment and enforcement of minimum drinking age laws.
As for distracted driving, 2009 NHTSA statistics alone are staggering. Car accident crash rates have steadily declined since 2005, when the NHTSA reported 39,252 crashes that claimed 43,510 lives to 2009, when the NHTSA logged 30,797 reported crashes that led to 33,808 fatalities. Meanwhile, the number of distraction-related car accidents and fatalities has risen from 10 to 16 percent of those overall numbers. In 2005, 4,026 distraction-related car accidents were reported, causing 4,472 fatalities. By 2009, those numbers had jumped to 4,898 and 5,474, respectively.
While NHTSA Administrator David Strickland admitted the trends reflecting more ubiquitous seat-belt use and fewer cases of underage drinking and driving are impressive, his goal remains at 100 percent compliance. As for the issue of distracted driving, he said the mission of his office is to take action “on a number of fronts to address the epidemic of distracted driving in America. With the help of experts, policymakers, and safety advocates… we are going to do everything we can to put an end to distracted driving and save lives.”
Sometimes seat belts save lives. Sometimes, they don’t. But what is clear is that speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving remain the three leading causes of serious and fatal traffic accidents. Hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer or wrongful death attorney can help determine the cause of your accident and can assist in recovering the compensation you deserve.
South Florida car accident attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing car accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.