According to the National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), five percent of the 3,446 commercial truck drivers in fatal collisions in 2010 were driving distracted. Since many experts believe that cell phone use was one of the key reasons behind distracted driving, in 2012 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed laws which prevent commercial truck drivers from using hand-held devices while driving. Yet, truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other Florida communities continue to be caused by distracted driving. Clearly, additional changes need to be made. Experts believe that a number of changes could be made to prevent these types of collisions:
1) Change attitudes about distracted driving. Currently, research and studies suggest that many drivers feel that distraction is okay as long as it is only for a few seconds. In addition, many drivers overestimate their driving abilities. In many cases, motorists cause truck and car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other cities because they take their focus or eyes off the road for “just a few seconds” to check a text message, change their music, or otherwise do something other than driving. Attitudes need to be changed so that more motorists understand that even very short periods of distraction can cause a serious traffic accident in Fort Lauderdale or in their community.
2) Expand definitions of distracted driving. Currently, much of the focus of legislators in Florida is on texting and cell phones. While studies have shown that cell phone-related car accidents in Fort Lauderdale mother communities are a serious cause of concern, cell phones are far from being the only distraction available to drivers. Other passengers, daydreaming, road signs, music, and many other distractions exist. Drivers need to be aware that anything that takes their eyes off the road – even eating a sandwich from a drive-through – can lead to a potentially fatal traffic accident.
3) Increase ways to check for distracted driving. Currently, one problem that legislators in Florida have when trying to pass texting bans and other legislation to combat distracted driving is that it is difficult for law enforcement to enforce distracted driving laws. It is difficult for authorities to notice when someone is texting and driving, for example, since drivers can keep mobile devices in their lap. New ideas need to be developed in order to ensure that authorities can enforce any laws against distracted driving.
4) Toughen laws. Increasing penalties for drivers who drive recklessly can help ensure that drivers who make poor decisions behind the wheel are held accountable if their actions injure someone or cause a fatal accident. Currently, those who have been injured by a reckless driver do have the option of seeking personal injury claims in Fort Lauderdale or their community.
5) Make sure that all motorists – not just truck drivers – do not drive distracted. Currently, truck drivers are banned from using hand-held cell phones and from texting and driving. However, while commercial truck drivers are subject to multiple rules, motorists of passenger vehicles are not.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident in Fort Lauderdale or any South Florida community, you do have rights. If your accident was caused by a reckless driver, you may be able to make a legal claim in order to seek compensation for damages. To get the facts and to learn more about how these laws apply to your specific situation, arrange for free consultation by contacting the Flaxman Law Group legal team today.