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South Florida Traffic Safety: Feds Make No Secret of Monitoring Driving Habits

News headlines have been dominated by the National Security Administration leak scandal perpetrated by a former CIA informant. The IRS’s action against conservative watchdog groups also has some up and arms at government interference. As does the report of government monitoring of citizen website traffic.

But one secret the government has never tried to keep: What you do behind the wheel is not just your business.

There are more than 3,000 people killed every year by distracted driving. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are experienced in complex cases involving cell phone use. Despite state legislative efforts to curb distracted driving, cell phone use continues to pose a significant risk to drivers, passengers and other motorists. Research has proven that disregarding warnings and the laws, drivers cannot seem to put down their phones when behind the wheel. A recent article published in Wired suggests that the federal government may have an alternative to “no texting” and “no cell phone” bans.

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Given the high risk of distracted driving, the federal government claims to have the solution to curb the use of mobile devices when behind the wheel. According to a researcher for the National Highway Safety Administration, new government regulations coupled with automobile manufacturing standards and the electronic industry could reduce fatalities.

The government is seeking a long-term technological solution to the problem of distracted driving. A new innovation would make a device recognizable to a vehicle, which could then deactivate it while the vehicle is in motion. Researchers believe this is the ultimate solution to the distracted driving problem. Obviously, this means that you would no longer be able to send a text, use Facebook, or use GPS from your mobile device. NHTSA and the Department of Transportation have published a 281-page report on how to accomplish this objective.

In the event of an accident police officers can get a warrant to obtain your driving record and determine whether you were texting and driving or using your cell phone while driving. For general traffic violations, officers are not likely to investigate or charge you; however, if you cause injury or in the event of fatality, those driving records can be used to prove criminal or civil negligence. If this new technology were to succeed, no driver would have the opportunity to text and drive.

The objective of the federal government is to limit the time a driver is able to take his or her eyes or hands off the task of driving. According to the NHTSA, if mobile devices are disabled, drivers would be unable to enter a text for messaging or use internet browsing while the car is in motion.

One version of the solution would require a driver to connect a smartphone or mobile device to the vehicle’s system. The second idea would have a proximity sensor in the vehicle that recognizes when the driver is using the device, requiring them to pass the phone to a passenger.

While safety advocates admit that the technological solution could reduce the overall number of distracted driving accidents, it is going to be a challenge to get compliance from automakers, electronic manufacturers and aftermarket manufacturers, as well as the public.

If you or a family member has been injured in a traffic accident, call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez— 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

South Florida Teens at Risk of Traffic Collisions Through Graduation, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 9, 2013

Unrested Drivers Causing Car Accidents in Deerfield Beach and Elsewhere Despite New Technology, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 20, 2012

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