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NHTSA Targets Automakers in Distracted Driving War

The Florida Senate has unanimously passed a bill to outlaw text messaging while driving. The next stop for the legislation is final passage in the Florida House, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

Our Greenacres car accident lawyers understand this is a step in the right direction when talking about stopping distracted driving accidents. Unfortunately, Florida is one of the only states left that has yet to enact any sort of distracted driving law.

But it’s not just about winning the cooperation of drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is targeting auto manufacturers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Ray LaHood, officials are seeking cooperation from automakers to follow new guidelines, which seek to rid vehicles of distracting devices. These are voluntary guidelines, but officials are hoping they take hold. What they’re looking to minimize is the access to electronic devices while the vehicle is in motion. This includes entertainment, communication and navigation devices.

“The new guidelines and our ongoing work with our state partners across the country will help us put an end to the dangerous practice of distracted driving,” said the NHTSA’s Administrator, David L. Strickland.

The problem here in Florida is that drivers argue that what they do in their vehicle is their business. Government agrees, saying that it doesn’t want to impose on the rights of residents. But how many lives do we have to lose before there’s a law enacted to stop such dangerous behavior?

Officials don’t necessarily want these devices to be removed from future models, but they would like them to be inactive while the vehicle is in motion. If your car is stopped and in park, go ahead and talk, text and email. You can’t cause an accident while parked.

These latest recommendations come after the completion of The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk study. This was a study that helped to prove just how at risk we are when we engage in distractions behind the wheel.

In this study, manual-visual interactions that were involved with using a cell phone made a driver close to 2 times more likely to get into an accident. Even when drivers were using hands-free devices, their risks for an accident were increased.

Ifou take your attention off of the road, then you increase your risks for an accident. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel and you’re less likely to get into an accident. It’s simple knowledge. We just need to get more drivers on board. There were close to 3,500 people killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2011. Together we can make a difference.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

South Florida Distracted Driving Problem Worse than Thought?, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 14, 2013

What is Really The Top Cause of Distracted Driving Crashes?, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 12, 2013

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