Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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As a society, we are becoming more aware of mental illness and the need to help those who suffer from it. However, even though we are making progress in reducing the stigma surrounding this condition, it remains an invisible problem, in many cases. And truck drivers may be especially prone to mental illness because of their jobs.

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Trucking is stressful, requiring long hours on the road and adherence to tight deadlines. Isolation while driving can exacerbate symptoms or can cause difficulties, all while creating a situation where drivers may struggle to form closer support networks. In addition, the near-misses on the road coupled with challenges in eating healthfully and getting exercise can mean issues such as depression can impact truck drivers disproportionately.

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Truck drivers get extensive training to handle the many risks of the road, but not everything can be controlled. Something as simple as emotional state can have a profound impact on road safety and on trucking accidents.

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While more studies are needed on the impact of emotions on trucking accidents, there is evidence linking strong emotional states with car collisions. According to a study from Virginia Tech, motorists who drive when sad, agitated, or anxious have ten times the risk of being in a car accident. This makes sadness more dangerous than distracted or fatigued driving, according to the study. Other studies have linked anger while driving to speeding and have found a correlation between anger and slow speeds as well as sharp braking.

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During the Halloween season, car drivers and parents are cautioned to be extra cautious about trick-or-treaters and the risk of pedestrian accidents on October 31. However, keep in mind that even during the day of the 31st, you need to be concerned about more than candy and car drivers. Truck accidents can be a concern on Halloween, too.

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On the evening of October 31, trucks are generally not to be found around residential areas. Many deliveries are over by the time Halloween trick or treating starts. However, truck accidents in Hollywood and south Florida can still be a concern at this time of year for three main reasons:

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Many employees talk on the phone while driving as part of their job. In some cases, they may be communicating with a dispatcher or may be calling in to report where they are. In some cases, employers allow employees to use hands-free devices so they can stay in touch with their workers while on the road. Not only do employers want to be able to reach their workers, but in many cases a workday doesn’t stop just because someone is on the road. Employees may still feel pressured to respond to e-mails, company communication, or requests when they’re on the road.

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If you’re a worker who talks on the phone or with dispatch as part of your job when you’re driving, you could be putting yourself at risk of distracted driving accidents. In Hollywood and across Florida, people are seriously injured or killed each year in company cars and delivery trucks as a result of distracted drivers.

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One argument for self-driving trucks is that many trucking accidents are caused by human errors and human factors. Whether you agree with the idea of self-driving trucks or not, there’s no doubt that on-the-road mistakes made by passenger car and truck drivers do lead to collisions.

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The most common human factors causing car accidents in Homestead and across Florida include:

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It’s no secret that car and truck accidents are a concern in Hollywood and the rest of Southern Florida. Each year people lose their lives or are seriously injured in truck and car accidents in the area. According to some experts, taking mass transit for your commute at least some of the time could help you reduce your risk of a car accident. This is because:

1) Mass transit is statistically less likely to lead to an accident.

Statistically, bus and train accidents cause fewer injuries and deaths each year. You’re less likely to be in a bus or train accident compared to a car accident. Also, the more miles you travel by car the more likely you are to find yourself in an accident. By taking mass transit at least part of the time, you can reduce the risk of a crash.

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Many truck and car accidents in Hialeah and other Florida communities are caused by human error. Human error can involve failing to check blind spots, making a mistake when changing lanes, or braking suddenly.

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Drivers and other cars may make decisions that cause you to be involved in a trucking accident. For example, another car may swerve in front of a truck, causing the truck to slam on the brakes or shift lanes, potentially crashing into you. Another car may try to drive around a truck and crash into you if you are driving in front of the same vehicle. Drivers tailgating a truck may suddenly slam on the brakes, causing you to rear-end their vehicle if they break too suddenly.

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Distracted drivers in Hollywood and Florida cause all kinds of traffic collisions, including pedestrian accidents, truck crashes, and car collisions, to name just a few. When drivers are daydreaming or are focusing on mobile devices or a conversation rather than the road they may not notice another car or a pedestrian in time to avoid a crash.

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Big rigs and tractor trailers can be especially dangerous when driven by a distracted driver. These vehicles are larger and heavier, with a higher center of gravity. If a driver is distracted, 18 wheelers and commercial trucks can crush smaller cars in their way and can cause a multi-vehicle pileup. They can also rollover and cause catastrophic collisions.

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Two new studies from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggest that we need to reconsider how we look at distracted driving in Hollywood and other communities. According to the studies, people who use cell phones while driving do have more crashes and close calls when compared with other motorists, but cell phones do not seem to have an impact on overall collision risks.

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The problem, according to researchers, is distracted driving itself and not cell phone use in particular. This is because drivers who are texting or using a cell phone may slow down or engage in other activities to reduce the risk of crashing. Drivers who are not on cell phones, however, are not necessarily safer because they are more likely to take part in other distractions – such as eating, talking with passengers, or smoking – when compared with drivers who use mobile devices.

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In the future, it is possible that technology will drive cars and trucks and will be able to prevent a number of trucking accidents in Hollywood and other communities that are caused by driver error. In the meantime, however, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) reports that many trucking crashes are caused by driver error. A report from the agency concludes that the most common causes of trucking accidents are:

•Prescription drugs
•Speeding
•Unfamiliarity with the area or roads
•Use of over the counter drugs
•Inadequate surveillance
•Fatigued driving
•Violation of road rules and illegal maneuvers
•Distracted driving
•No evasive action taken
•Aggressive driving
While some studies have concluded that passenger car driver error is more likely to cause trucking and car accidents in Hollywood and other communities when compared with truck driver error, there is no doubt that truck drivers can and do make mistakes that turn out to be deadly. Truck drivers are driving large commercial vehicles that weigh tens of thousands of pounds. When they make a mistake, that error could end up costing lives and can cause permanent, serious injuries such as paralysis, amputation, head trauma, and other serious injuries.

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Experts agree that more needs to be done. Safety experts have recommended that additional driver training and screening could help prevent some collisions. Unfortunately, with a truck driver shortage across the country, trucking companies feel pressure to hire drivers, and this can mean less careful screening as well as the hiring of less qualified drivers in some situations.

Experts would also like to see additional surveillance and supervision of truck drivers. Technology can help with this by providing cameras in truck cabs that can help automatically screen for fatigued driving, distracted driving, and other issues that can lead to collisions on roads. In the meantime, careful driver applicant screening and extra training can help ensure that drivers have the experience needed in order to drive safely.

If you have been injured in a traffic accident in Hollywood, how can you know whether over-the-counter drugs, a driver’s unfamiliarity with the roads, or distracted driving led to the collision? Sometimes, the cause of an accident is obvious. A truck may be obviously speeding and careen out-of-control. In other cases, the causes of the crash are much more subtle. If you have been in a sideswipe accident, head-on collision, underride accident, or other truck collision, contact a personal injury attorney in Hollywood or your community in order to get answers. An attorney can not only help you understand your rights but they can also investigate the causes of an accident in order to find out whether driver error caused the collision. In many cases, truck accidents are preventable and are caused by recklessness or negligence. Pursuing compensation in these cases sends a message to the trucking industry that safety is a priority and it also ensures that plaintiffs have the financial resources they need to pay for medical care, lost income, and other expenses.

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