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Laws and Enforcement Needed to Reduce Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Miami

Newly released research proves that increased enforcement efforts of distracted driving laws have the ability to reduce the risks of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale as it would strike awareness in the minds of motorists. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced dramatic reductions in distracted driving in Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, after two pilot projects were used to measure the effect of increased law enforcement coupled with public awareness and education campaigns.
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“These findings show that strong laws, combined with highly-visible police enforcement, can significantly reduce dangerous texting and cell phone use behind the wheel,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Based on these results, it is crystal clear that those who try to minimize this dangerous behavior are making a serious error in judgment, especially when half a million people are injured and thousands more are killed in distracted driving accidents.”

Our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys understand that Florida is one of the few states left that has yet to enact some sort of law regulating the use of cell phones and text messaging devices by drivers. It doesn’t appear that Florida will be making any changes to the current law any time soon either. In 2010 alone, Governor Charlie Crist rejected seventeen proposed texting/cell phone bills. Even though Miami-Dade passed an ordinance banning hand-held cell phone use while driving, the Florida legislature promptly passed a law banning individual municipalities from regulating cell-phone use.

This recent study showed that it’s not just the law that makes a difference in the behavior of drivers, but the enforcement of the actual law itself. The pilot programs in Hartford and Syracuse were supported by $200,000 in federal funds and $100,000 from the state. The focus of this study was to examine if increased police enforcement and paid advertising could in fact reduce distracted driving habits.

The study concluded the following:

-Syracuse, New York experienced a decline by one-third in both handheld cell phone use and texting behind the wheel because of more visible enforcement efforts.

-Hartford, Connecticut witnessed a drop of nearly 60 percent in handheld use. There was also a 75 percent reduction in texting drivers.

“The success of these pilot programs clearly show that combining strong laws with strong enforcement can bring about a sea change in public attitudes and behavior,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “We applaud the work of the men and women of the Syracuse and Hartford police forces, and call on state legislatures, law enforcement and safety advocates across the nation to follow their lead.”

In 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 deaths were caused by traffic accidents that reported the involvement of a distracted driver. Another 500,000 people were injured in these accidents. Distraction-related traffic accidents accounted for nearly 20 percent of all traffic deaths in the same year.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a distraction-related accident, 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.

More Blog Entries:

Social Media Devices in Vehicles Lead to a High Risk of Distracted Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
July 19, 2011

New Legislation Slated to Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Nationwide
July 17, 2011

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