In a recent South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog about distracted driving, we reported on the government’s request that automakers get involved in the fight against cell phone use and texting while driving.
Florida is one of a few states that do not currently have any law in place about distracted driving. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys frequently report on the risks associated with driving distracted. Whether cell-phone use, text messaging or talking to a passenger, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents from Fort Pierce to Fort Lauderdale.
For many states, texting is illegal and considered a primary offense according to Governors Highway Safety Association. Florida does not forbid texting or the use of hand-held devices by talking on a cell phone while driving for any drivers.
There is an increasing debate about whether the government should put so much emphasis into a campaign designed to encourage drivers not to drive distracted. According to a recent article in USA Today, distracted driving has always been a problem. Perhaps cell phones have exacerbated the problem, however many other driving safety issues could benefit from one-tenth the attention the government has given to distracted driving.
Distraction.gov refers to distractions as visual, cognitive, and manual. Some examples of visual distractions are reading a map, fixing your make-up, or watching a video. These distractions require that you take your eyes of the road to focus on another object. Cognitive distraction is when your mind is taken away from driving and wanders to something else. Talking on the cell phone or to another passenger in the vehicle can be considered cognitive distractions. Changing the radio station, eating, and drinking are examples of manual distractions that require you to take one or both hands off the wheel.
Florida Highway Patrol will not pull you over if you are using a cell phone so they offer the following safety tips instead:
– Don’t use your cell phone if road conditions are not safe or you are facing severe weather.
-Your first priority when you are behind the wheel should be to be a safe driver. If your cell phone distracts you then don’t answer it or talk while you are driving.
-If you feel you need to multi-task while you are driving, be prepared. Don’t jot down notes or look up a number while you are driving. It is important that your eyes stay on the road.
-Refrain from using your cell phone unless it’s a case of an emergency. Keep conversations short and if you feel like you are becoming distracted by your conversation, pull over into a safe spot until you finish the call.
-Never engage in stressful or emotional conversations while you are driving.
The experienced attorneys at Freeman & Mallard can assist you with injury cases in West Palm Beach, Margate, Hollywood, Coral Gables, and Port St. Lucie. If you have been injured in a South Florida automobile accident, make a free appointment to discuss your case by calling 1-800-529-2368.