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Summer, Distracted Driving and the Increased Risk of Red-Light Collisions

As we have discussed in previous blog posts, distracted driving is an increasing danger to drivers and other motorists sharing the road. The few seconds it can take to check your cellphone for a text, glance at the headlines, or read an email, is enough time to cause a serious or fatal accident. This summer, drivers should be especially careful of the dangers of distracted driving and red-light intersection collisions.

Rear-end collisions often occur when a distracted driver fails to react to stopped traffic ahead. Similarly, a driver who fails to spot a yellow or red light can fly through the intersection and cause a serious or fatal accident. A new study commissioned by the National Coalition for Safer Roads has found that 12 percent of red light violations are caused by distracted driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has indicated that drivers who run red lights are the leading cause of accidents in urban settings. Our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys are experienced in investigating red light accidents and helping families who have suffered personal and financial losses arising from an intersection accident.

Researchers tracked accidents in 118 intersections throughout 19 communities over a three-month duration. Analyzing the camera images at the intersections, the research team found that a significant percentage of accidents were caused by distracted driving. This means that more than a million red light intersection accidents are caused by distracted driving every year.

Understanding the risks of distracted driving may not be enough. Despite warnings, many Americans continue to use handheld devices behind the wheel. Even in states where drivers are required to use hand-free devices, the distraction may be just as dangerous. For many drivers, laws and safety warnings are not enough to curb or stop the use of cell phones when behind the wheel.

According to the National Safety Council, 21 percent of all crashes are caused by cell phones. While cell phones are notoriously distracting, an even bigger distraction for drivers is the use of a smartphone. Over 50% of Americans now use a smartphone, up from 35 percent in 2011. The use of smartphones poses a larger risk of hazard because users have greater access to distracting features including the Internet, GPS, Facebook, and other applications.

Smartphone ownership is highest among younger adults, including those in their 20s and 30s. The use of smartphones has also expanded to the 40s and 50s crowd; however research suggests that the 65 and older demographic are not likely to pick up a smartphone if they have not already. Whether you are a veteran smartphone user or you have a smartphone for the first time this summer, be aware of the very dangerous risk of texting, emailing, Facebooking, or surfing the net while behind the wheel. Even using GPS can be a long-enough distraction to cause an accident.

Summer can be a dangerous time of the year, especially for new drivers, teen drivers, and drivers who are new to using a smartphone. All drivers should refrain from using handheld devices while behind the wheel. Put your device in your purse, in the glove compartment, or hand it over to a passenger. All drivers should refrain from texting and driving and other distractions to prevent red light intersection collisions, rear end collisions and preventable road tragedies.

If you or someone you love was injured, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:
Florida May Finally Pass Texting Ban, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 4, 2013
Car Accidents and Teenage Fatalities on the Rise in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 30, 2013

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