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Driving Behaviors Examined to help Reduce Driver Distraction in St. Lucie Car Accidents

You may remember earlier this year when we reported on our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog that Toyota Motor Corporation lost millions of dollars for failing to report vehicles that were mass-produced with faulty floor mats and accelerator pedals. Defective vehicles can cause serious injury in a St. Lucie car accident so recalled vehicles should always be taken to the dealer for proper inspections and repair.

Greenacres car accident attorneys know that Toyota has been in the news recently but in a positive manner this time. CNN reports that Toyota will fund comprehensive research studies that will look at drivers’ attention and behavior rather than examining the vehicle itself. Under much scrutiny for producing malfunctioning vehicles, NASA scientists actually discovered that driver error was more to blame than defective parts in Toyota models involved in accidents.
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This study may be especially insightful for younger drivers, who seem to have an illusive superiority when it comes to their attitudes about driving, according to recent surveys. They reportedly overvalue positive abilities and devalue the negatives when it comes to many aspects of their lives, including roadway behaviors.

Toyota Motor Corporation will place distracted driving at the top of the research priority list and will target the behavior of the two most critical problem populations: older drivers and newly licensed drivers. Toyota will fund $50 million dollars over the next five years for 10 new research projects that will take place at six top-notch universities or research institutions. The six new safety technology partners are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Transportation Active Safety Institute, Virginia Polytech Institute and State University, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study and Wayne State University School of Medicine.

We all know that driver distraction is a hot topic right now. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has been trying to get an inkling on how driver distraction affects driving behavior in a naturalistic study. Researchers have been examining footage from drivers who have a camera installed in their vehicle. Findings have suggested that teens are quite oblivious to their surroundings until they are shaken back to reality by a collision. Toyota’s answer is to offer a free defensive driving program to 90 teens and their parents, and then monitor the teens for six months to judge the program’s effectivness.

VTTI will also use funds provided by Toyota to launch a three-year project that looks at brain fitness training for older adults and whether there is any benefit to improve their field of vision. Researchers have found that a person’s field of vision and the amount of information they can take in at a glance reduces with age by as much as 30 percent. The new study will examine elder drivers’ field of vision when performing lane changes, at intersections, as well as speed-related behaviors.

Other funded projects will include a two-year study at MIT Age Lab that will look at in-vehicle command systems and what effect they have on driver distraction. A separate study at Wayne State University will develop crash dummies with different body types to determine how body makeup effects injuries sustained in crashes. The goal is to determine how injuries can be reduced for all occupants no matter how old or what body type they are.

The car accident attorneys at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC represent victims of distracted driving accidents in Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Plantation, Margate and surrounding areas of South Florida. If you have been injured, call for a free consultation with a dedicated attorney at 1-800-561-7777.

Additional Resources:

Toyota takes on the myth of the above-average driver, by Alex Taylor III, CNN Money.

More Blog Entries:

Recalled Vehicles That Remain Unfixed Increase Dangers of Palm Beach Car Accidents, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 25, 2011.

Officials Seeing Too Many Distracted Driving-Related Car Accidents in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 8, 2011.

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