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Is Florida Distracted in its Distracted Driving Battle?

Looking to reduce the risks of distracted driving? A hands-free device isn’t your best bet. According to The Street, these devices are just as distracting to drivers as handheld devices.
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However, people don’t recognize distraction with a hands-free device because their hands are still on the wheel and their eyes are still on the road. Unfortunately, your brain and your attention are directed elsewhere.

Our Lauderhill car accident lawyers understand that hands-free is not risk-free. According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, you can still experience impairments with some of these new voice-based in-car electronics. Researchers with AAA studied a number of drivers and examined their driving proficiency while engaging in a number of various activities. The findings concluded that, even with hands-free devices, driver’s’ attention was diverted from the road.

To help to combat this problem, officials with the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) released “2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States.” This was a study conducted to see just how states are working to combat distracted driving and what they can do to help to eliminate these risks on their roadways.

As it stands now, about half of all adults in the country currently have a smartphone. In addition, the wireless industry returned a report of a subscription penetration rate of more than 100 percent.

Given the prevalence of the risks, state lawmakers are looking to crackdown on drivers who are engaging in cell phone use behind the wheel. According to the GHSA study, since 2010, there have been more and more states to enact and enforce laws, leverage new media to educate the motoring public, focus on key constituency groups and collect data related to the problem.

Was Florida one of these states?

According to the GHSA, the state of Florida did in fact include distracted driving concerns in its strategic highway safety plan (in 2012). On the other hand, the Sunshine State failed to collect any kind of distracted driving data.

As you may be aware, a new law was signed in our state to ban drivers from text messaging while a vehicle is in motion. Florida was one of the country’s last holdouts, as 45 other states have some kind of texting ban in place.

This new ban, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, goes into effect October 1st and makes texting while driving a “secondary” offense, meaning a driver would have to be pulled over for some other violation, like speeding, to get a texting ticket. Unfortunately, Drivers can still make phone calls, but they are prohibited from typing on a device while the car is moving.

Is it strict enough to make a difference? Officials with the GHSA say that Florida needs to do more, and that’s why we’re turning to you. We all know the risks of distracted driving. Do the right thing and pay attention to the road. It’s a move that could not only save you from a ticket, but it could save your life.

If you or someone you love was injured, call 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

NHTSA Aims Beyond Drivers in Distracted Driving Fight, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 1, 2013

Car Insurance Myths: How Good is Your Coverage?, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 13, 2013

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