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Attention South Florida Drivers: Hands-Free Devices May Be No Safer

You’re most likely to get into a traffic accident while making a left-hand turn at a busy intersection.

According to Dr. Tom Schweizer, a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital, those risks skyrocket when you’re using a hands-free cell phone. In fact, drivers were examined using a simulator — this was the first interactive distracted driving study to have participants use a steering wheel instead of a trackball or a joy-stick.
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Our Lake Worth car accident attorneys understand that this study helped researchers to map in real time which parts of the brain were affected in a number of driving scenarios. The statistics speak for themselves. We know that distracted driving kills. According to distraction.gov, there were more than 3,330 people killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2011 in the U.S. Cell phones accounted for a majority of these fatalities. As a matter of fact, drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Text messaging behind the wheel creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.

Regardless of how dangerous it may or may not be, Florida lawmakers have done nothing to minimize the risks. Despite the number of bill that have attempted to address distracted driving, none of them have passed. Florida lawmakers have no concern with helping to keep drivers’ eyes on the road as they say that government needs to stay out of Floridian’s vehicles. Still — hundreds are killed in the Sunshine State each and every year because of distracted driving.

Researchers with St. Michael’s Hospital were able to prove just how much brain attention is needed when making a left-hand turn. It actually takes more brain activity than driving on a straight road or driving while making other maneuvers. Driving is a complex task that requires a lot of attention. You’ve got to be on the lookout for roadway dangers and you’ve got to be ready to react. You can’t afford to mess with anything that’s going to delay those reactions. Just a fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death.

When drivers are talking behind the wheel, the portion of the brain that’s in charge of vision is drastically altered. This study was recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The bottom line is that drivers need to focus all of their attention on the task at hand — driving. When you’re behind the wheel, there’s no room for error. There’s no phone call and no text message that should be worth risking a life. Although it may not be law in the state of Florida, drivers are asked to act in good faith and to hold off on the distractions. If there’s a phone call or a text message that needs your attention while you’re driving, it’s critical for you to pull over and stop safely before handling such business. Your safety depends on it.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Father Pushes for Anti-Distraction Bill with Florida Lawmakers, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 28, 2013

Broward Traffic Safety Watch: Road Deaths on the Rise, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 26, 2013

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