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Cell Phone Distractions Lead to High Risk of Boat, Car and Train Accidents in Miami

The National Transportation Safety Board is hoping that operators of trains, boats and automobiles will become more vigilant about not texting, talking, or surfing on their cell phones, according to a recent article in The Boston Globe.

Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys know that cell phones are deadly distractions and lead to a high rate of distracted driving accidents in Miami, no matter what method of transportation is being utilized.
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“Many people continue to think it’s just going to take a moment (to call or text),” NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said. “How do we change that mindset? Not just the NTSB, but all of us?”

The NTSB recently met in the nation’s capital to discuss last year’s fatal crash in a busy Philadelphia shipping channel. A tour boat carrying several passengers was having some engine problems and was hit by a tug boat pushing a 250-foot barge.

The collision sent 37 people into the water, which resulted in two student fatalities and several other injuries. A family emergency had distracted the tug boat operator, who had moved to the lower wheelhouse for privacy, for the final 9 minutes right before the crash. Investigators found that the tug boat pilot had made several phone calls and had surfed the internet which are both against company policy.

“Distraction is becoming the new DUI,” NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said. “This is going to reach epidemic proportions. It takes a generation or two to change it, but change is needed,” Sumwalt said.

The NTSB is in the midst of another full blown investigation involving a semi-tractor trailer that recently collided with an Amtrak train that was headed from Chicago to Emeryville, CA. According to CNN, the truck driver was allegedly on his cell phone and investigators hope to determine whether that was the cause of the collision in Nevada that killed 6 people and injured several passengers aboard the Amtrak train. The records for both the trucking company and the driver are somewhat soiled with 19 recorded safety violations and several traffic violations respectively.

As a result, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported recently that Nevada has enacted a ban on texting and driving in their state and violators will be fined starting January 1, 2012.

It has been a slow process to get state legislatures on board with a texting ban. Washington State was the first to ban texting while driving back in May 2007, and the recent tragedy has proclaimed Nevada the 34th state to take action prohibiting the behavior. Florida remains one of a handful of states that doesn’t ban cell phone use or texting while driving.

If you or a family member has been injured in a distraction-related accident involving a car, train or boat, contact the experienced team of injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free no-obligation appointment. Our offices are located in West Palm Beach, Margate, Hollywood, Miami and Port St. Lucie so call 1-800-561-7777 to discuss your case today.

Additional Resources:

NTSB: Culture of driving with phones must change, by Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, posted in The Boston Globe

Federal officials investigate cause of deadly Amtrak crash, by the CNN Wire Staff, CNN
Driver Inattention Can Cause Serious Injuries in Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 21, 2011

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