Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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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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Each year, truck accidents in Homestead cause serious injuries and cost lives. Across the country, accidents involving commercial trucks cause devastation. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,373 people lost their lives across the country in 2011 due to accidents involving tractor-trailers. Many more people in Florida and across the U.S. suffer serious injuries such as fractures and head injuries as a result of these types of accidents.

Trucks are necessary for transporting goods and underpinning businesses across the state. When truck and car accidents in Homestead and other cities occur, motorists in passenger cars are most likely to be injured or killed in this type of accident. A passenger car simply has no chance against a much larger big rig.

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For this reason and since many truck-car accidents are caused due to driver error, safety experts say that motorists can do a great deal to help prevent traffic crashes in Homestead and other cities. If you drive a passenger car, you can help by:

•Never cutting off a large truck. A tractor-trailer or semi traveling at 55 miles per hour takes the equivalent of two football fields to come to a complete stop. If you cut off a large truck, you are doing more than just being a rude driver – you are risking your life and the lives of your passengers. If you cut off a large truck and the truck driver has to slam on the brakes, you will likely be injured in a serious rear-end shunt accident in Homestead or your community.
•Stay safe around trucks making right turns. Semis will often pull into the left lane and swing wide when making a right turn. You need to give the truck added room to avoid being involved in a squeeze play accident. Never try to go around the truck – it could cost you your life.
•Don’t tailgate trucks. Trucks can drift backwards when they change gears. If you are following a truck uphill, especially, you could be involved in an accident if you don’t give the vehicle extra room.
•Make sure you can see the truck driver in his or her mirrors. Semis have blind spots in front of the truck, on the sides of the cab, and behind the vehicle. Keep sight of the driver in their mirrors and make eye contact to ensure that the driver can see you and is aware of your car.
•If you must pull over, pull over all the way to the shoulder. Large trucks take up a lot of room on highways and in lanes. If you are too close to a lane, a truck might brush into your vehicle. A drifting truck can also collide with your car.

Everyone has a responsibility for staying safe on the roads. Studies have shown that many car and truck accidents are caused by driver error in many cases, so taking care to drive safely could help you reduce your risk of a collision.

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At this time of year, authorities and law enforcement are especially concerned about truck and car accidents in Hollywood and across the country. Many people who drive vehicles for a living are under pressure at this time of year and according to experts there are many reasons why work conditions at this time of year could contribute to more work accidents in Hollywood involving vehicles:

1) Extra holiday pressure can mean longer hours. Commercial truck drivers have the number of hours they can drive regulated by federal agencies. However, not every employee is regulated in this way. An employer may send out an employee in a company truck, for instance, in order to make a delivery to an important client. And even in the case of commercial truck drivers, some motor carriers may feel pressure to have drivers make deliveries that violate hours of service rules.

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2) The holidays can mean more DUI accidents. Commercial truck drivers are carefully monitored to ensure that they do not drive drunk. There are checks and strong penalties in place to ensure that commercial truck drivers drive sober. However, they may still have to deal with motorists on the road who decide to drink and drive and in some cases even trained commercial drivers may not be able to avoid a DUI accident in Hollywood due to another driver’s recklessness.

3) Deliveries at this time of year can mean tighter deadlines. There is a lot of pressure on truck drivers at this time of year to make more deliveries in a shorter time frame. Customers want purchases delivered and most businesses have holiday specials or events that require deliveries of inventory or other products. All of this can mean more rushing and more pressure, which can lead to fatigue, overwhelm, and preventable mistakes. Unfortunately for truck drivers, their mistakes can lead to serious traffic crashes in Hollywood and other cities.

4) There may be more drivers on the roads. Holiday time means more traffic as more drivers are on the roads trying to take care of holiday shopping and other errands. More traffic combined with tight deadlines can mean a great risk of collisions for big rigs and tractor trailers, especially since these vehicles need more room to turn and park. Due to holiday traffic, some drivers may be less willing to give drivers adequate room, and this can lead to parking lot crashes as well as squeeze play accidents in Hollywood and other Florida towns.

5) There may be more less experienced drivers on the roads. Many businesses hire seasonal drivers and motor carriers also feel pressure to put more drivers on the roads to meet demand. Unfortunately, newly hired drivers may not be familiar with a specific area or specific route and may be more at risk of an accident, especially with the other risks involved at this time of year.

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In Hollywood, truck accidents may be caused by additional pressure and the type of work conditions that occur during this time of year. According to insurance companies, claims for traffic accidents in Hollywood and other cities go up during this month. There are several factors that could be contributing to more collisions at this time of year:

1) There may be more temporary workers – and drivers — during the holiday season. Stores demand more products to meet holiday demands and many customers want delivery of their products as well. All of this means more truck traffic and this means more pressure on motor carriers to put more trucks and more drivers on the road. As a result, at this time of year there may be more newer drivers on the roads as motor carriers try to meet demands.

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2) There are more deliveries during the holiday season. Stores often offer extra incentives – such as deliveries to customers’ doors – and both stores and customers are ordering more products for the holidays. This not only means more trucks on city streets, but it also means more deliveries being made to places that drivers may not be familiar with (such as customer homes). This can increase the risk of car or truck accidents in Hollywood and other communities.

3) There is more traffic during the holiday season.
There are more pedestrians taking advantage of holiday events and more cars on the roads as residents visit family and go shopping. There are also more trucks on the roads making more deliveries. More people sharing the roads can mean more congestion and the potential for collisions.

4) There are tighter deadlines during the holiday season. This time of year is hectic. Everyone wants gifts delivered by a certain day, and this can put extra pressure on truck drivers to drive for longer hours to make deliveries on time. However, when drivers ignore hours of service rules and fail to get proper rest they can easily cause a crash.

5) There is more work and personal pressure during the holidays. In addition to more work pressure to make more deadlines, truck drivers may be distracted by their own holiday plans, shopping lists, and holiday events.

6) Passenger car drivers may be more distracted during this time of year. Motorists are not subject to the same strict rules as truck drivers. At this hectic time of year, drivers of passenger cars may be trying to multitask in their cars or may be exhausted due to the many holiday pressures they face. Even when truck drivers are cautious, they may still need to deal with DUI car accidents in Hollywood and with aggressive or distracted drivers.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in 2011, about 10% of all traffic accident deaths across the country were related to crashes involving tractor-trailers. These types of truck accidents killed 3,373 Americans that year, and most of these fatalities involved occupants of passenger vehicles colliding with the much larger trucks.

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Safety experts agree that driver distraction is a major cause of truck and car accidents in Davie and other cities. According to a 2009 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers are distracted by a number of factors and in many cases the FMCSA concludes that accidents resulting from distraction could be prevented if:

•Truck drivers did not read maps or check directions while driving
•Dashboard instruments were designed so that the truck driver’s eyes could remain on the road for longer periods of time
•Fleet safety managers spent more time training drivers to avoid distraction
•Truck drivers did not manually use a cell phone while driving
•Policies in the trucking industry were created to reduce distracted driving
•Fleet safety managers understood what devices and distractions may be in truck drivers’ cabs with them
Once this study was published, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned texting and driving and the use of hand-held phones for commercial truck drivers. Earlier this year, Florida banned texting while driving for passenger vehicles. However, as many safety experts point out, there is no way to legislate against all possible distractions in a car. Motorists and truck drivers still may contend with distractions such as:

•Eating and drinking while driving
•Adjusting the radio or other instruments in the car
•Speaking with passengers
•Daydreaming
•Watching external objects
•Smoking
•Checking directions or a map
What can be done to prevent more traffic accidents in Davie and other communities? It is obvious that laws alone cannot stop all of these distractions in Davie and other communities. Motorists need to become aware of the risks and need to take steps to reduce distraction on the road. One way to do this is to become more aware of distracted behaviors such as daydreaming in order to stop them. Another option is to always think three moves ahead while driving. This not only allows a driver to drive defensively, but it can also help prevent distraction by keeping a motorist’s attention fully engaged with the task of driving.

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