Posted On: July 21, 2011 by Flaxman Law Group

Hands-Free Devices and Florida Truck Accidents

Truck carriers do not permit commercial truck drivers to text and drive or use cell phones while driving. In fact, federal rules place many restrictions on commercial truck drivers in a bid to reduce serious truck accidents. However, commercial truck drivers are still generally allowed to use hands-free devices. In fact, many drivers rely on these devices as a communication device while on the road. Hands-free devices help them contact their carrier and even call for help when needed. However, a new study finds that hands-free devices may not be useful in helping to prevent Florida car accidents and truck accidents after all.

According to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, there is no firm evidence to show that hands-free cell phones are safer to use when driving than hand-held devices. The study examined hundreds of research studies and reports concerning distracted driving. The researchers found evidence that cell phone use increases the risk of a collision, but could find no evidence that hands-free devices are safer. Researchers did find that 15-25 percent of all traffic accidents were caused by cell phone use.

According to researchers, part of the problem is that drivers must still dial the phone or look at the phone in order to dial a number. According to some commercial driving research, the dialing of a number is considered a high-risk activity while driving, and hands-free devices do not necessarily remove this risk.

Some experts have also hypothesized that hands-free devices do not remove the emotional distraction of mobile devices. That is, a driver engaged in a phone conversation is necessarily distracted because he or she is not thinking about just driving. However, no firm research has been done about the effects of this specific type of emotional distraction.

Currently, cell phone carriers in the US do not release data about whether people use their phones or are dialing at the time of an accident. This makes it harder for researchers to determine exact causes of accidents. As well, in some cases, more than owe distracting factor may contribute to a Florida truck accident or traffic accident, and in these cases it is hard to determine what role a mobile device played in the accident.

Even more troubling are studies by The Highway Loss Data Institute, which found that cell phone bans in four states did not reduce the number of accidents in those states. These studies call into question whether legislation alone can help reduce crashes.

Despite the many questions, the Governors Highway Safety Association recommends a ban of hands-free and hand-held phones for new drivers. According to the researchers, new drivers are at highest risk of accidents and this type of ban can help new drivers avoid added distractions during the learning period. At the same time, however, researchers admitted that they have not found any proof that cell phone bans for new drivers help prevent car accidents. About 30 states have this type of legislation, and none of these states found a drop in the number of new drivers involved in car accidents.

If you have been in a truck accident in South Florida, schedule a free consultation with the Flaxman Law Group to discuss your case. Through law offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, the Flaxman Law Group has already helped thousands of Florida personal injury victims. Put our decades of experience to work for you.