Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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Distracted driving is a tremendous national problem that has reached epidemic levels.  The personal injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, are concerned by the high rates of distracted driving nationally and locally.  We have provided the following list of frequently asked questions concerning distracted driving in hopes of raising increased awareness to the tremendous problem of distracted driving and the penalties texting drivers may face in Florida:

What is considered distracted driving?

Distracted driving encompasses driving while engaging in any other activity that distracts your attention, eyes, or hands from the road.  Distractions could include simple things like changing the radio station, inputting information in your GPS, or attending to a small child.  It can also be more complex, such as texting while driving, taking pictures on your cell phone, or engaging in social media. Continue reading →

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Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions and it appears to only be getting worse.  A survey recently conducted by State Farm reveals that drivers continue to text and drive at higher rates, and are now accessing the internet while driving at twice the rate they were in 2009.  Interestingly, even drivers who admit to smartphone use while driving state that they believe distracted driving laws should be strengthened.  Improving laws so as to provide greater legal deterrents would, they report, lead to diminished cell phone use.

Texting and Driving in Florida is a Secondary Offense

In the state of Florida, we do have laws in place banning texting and driving.  However, these laws make texting while driving a secondary offense.  This means that in order to cite a driver for texting while driving, police officers would need to pull the driver over for something else first.  Secondary laws make it difficult for police officers to truly enforce a texting ban because so many drivers will not have committed another offense that allows the officer to stop them.  Continue reading →

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South Florida and Miami in particular is known for having times of heavy traffic.  This bustling area draws thousands of tourists each year and is home year round to over five million people.  With so many people living and working in South Florida, the roadways and highways can become congested.  Early morning and evening hours will often result in stop and go traffic as people rush to and from the office, beaches, or other popular destinations.

Stop and Go Traffic Creates Serious Hazards

Stop and go traffic can present considerable dangers.  It requires that drivers pay close attention to the road ahead and constantly adjust their speed accordingly.  If a driver becomes distracted, a serious or even chain reaction accident may occur.  Your life and the safety of those around you depend upon your focus and safe driving when faced with congested roadways.  The following is a list of safety tips from our personal injury lawyers in Miami for those driving in stop and go traffic: Continue reading →

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While most parents recognize that distracted drivers constitute a significant cause of many fatal teen collisions, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests the problem is even worse than previously suspected.  The recently published study based on an analysis of actual crash video footage from 1,700 teen crashes reveals that distractions are a factor in almost 60 percent (58 percent) of all moderate-to-severe collisions involving teenage drivers.  Although distractions have long been considered a significant cause of teen driving fatalities, previous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates postulated about 14 percent of teen car accidents were linked to driving distractions.

The study has been lauded as the most comprehensive study ever done that examines the relationship between teen driving accidents and distracted driving practices.  The research was conducted by evaluating six seconds of video footage from data event recorders in vehicles driven by teens involved in crashes.  This emerging technology also provided other significant information about teen distracted driving.  Distractions constituted a factor in 89 percent of road-departure collisions while distracted driving contributed to 76 percent of rear-impact collisions

Types of Driving Distractions Causing Teen Traffic Accidents

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In the holiday season, there are many distractions that can pull a driver’s attention off the road at a critical moment. Distracted driving leads to hundreds of thousands of injuries every year, as well as thousands of fatalities. While there are many different activities that can distract a driver, there also are steps that a person can take to minimize the distractions. It is important to do everything possible to keep your eyes on the road and your attention focused.

When a person has allowed distractions to lead to a car accident where another individual has been injured, the knowledgeable and compassionate Miami car accident lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to help. With more than 130 years of collective experience in representing the interests of car accident victims, our attorneys understand how to fight for the compensation that our clients’ needs.

Before that accident happens, there are some of the steps that a driver can take to limit distracted driving include:
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South Florida summers are well known for their deluge of heavy rains. In Florida, heavy rain can strike unexpectedly and often leads to car accidents. Our recent wet weather has caused several accidents throughout the Miami-Dade area, and many more throughout the state. Rain causes thousands of car accidents nationally each year as rain diminishes visibility and creates slick conditions.

One of the main problems with heavy rain is that many drivers simply do not understand how to drive safely in it. Rain tends to lead to two types of drivers: the reckless drivers and the excessively timid. Both types of drivers can cause accidents during slick conditions. Overly timid drivers tend to exaggerate the dangers of rain and drive at unreasonably low speeds. It irks me when drivers who are moving put their 4-way emergency flashers on. It is against the law to put on a vehicle’s emergency flashers due to rain. It makes sense if you think about it. When you see a car or truck with it’s flashers on you naturally assume it’s broken down and stopped. This ca and has caused many serious injuries. In heavy rain you should pull safely off the road if you are not confident or slow for the conditions. When the weather limits the number of available lanes, as heavy rain can do, this type of driver can cause traffic to back up and increase the risk of rear end accidents. Reckless drivers, on the other hand, ignore the dangers of wet weather and drive at full speed or even greater, even when conditions are slick and visibility low. These drivers pose a major hazard to all road users.

Our Miami car accident lawyers have prepared the following list of tips designed to help you stay safe during this summer rainy weather:
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People hear about distracted driving accidents every day, but what many do not realize is that this truly has become an epidemic among drivers of all ages. However, teenagers have a much higher likelihood of driving while distracted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to study this deadly phenomenon as part of its Motor Vehicle Safety efforts.

When a person is injured in an auto accident, whether caused by a distracted driver or other negligent actions, the compassionate and experienced Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients who have been severely injured in car accidents and we will use those skills in pursuing distracted driving cases.

The CDC lists three types of distracted driving:
• Visual – where the driver takes his eyes off of the road;
• Manual – the driver removes his hands from the wheel; and • Cognitive – the driver focuses his thoughts and attention on something other than driving.

The most common example of distracted driving is texting while driving, which combines all three types of distraction.

In 2011, an estimated 3,331 people died in motor vehicle accidents where there was a distracted driver. The number of people injured did decrease slightly from 2010, down to 387,000 from 416,000. Between the years of 2009 and 2011, there was almost a 50% increase in the number of text messages sent in the United States, which does not bode well with future incidents of distracted driving.
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Over the past decade, texting while driving (and other related forms of distraction) has become one of the leading causes of car accidents in the State of Florida and across the United States as a whole. Due to the rise of cell phone usage and all of their associated gizmos, gadgets and applications, it is not surprising that as a result, a car accident occurs approximately every ten seconds in the U.S. Specifically, nation-wide surveys reveal that nearly two-thirds of all drivers admitted to reading text messages or emailing while driving. Even more daunting is the fact in Florida alone, the more than 4,500 accidents that occurred last year were all attributed to some form of distracted driving, with more than 250 linked specifically to texting.

In an effort to increase the safety of Florida drivers, Governor Rick Scott recently signed SB 52, a new law that implements a state-wide ban on texting while driving. Florida has now joined the majority of states that have enacted strict legislative measures against this dangerous practice. As part of the new law, drivers must be stopped by police for a separate traffic infraction before being issued a ticket for texting while driving. The cost of the ticket is $30 for each infraction.

In light of the above, some Floridians are claiming that the law is too weak in that it does not punish texting while driving as a primary offense. In fact, according to one parent whose daughter Continue reading →

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Thumbnail image for Miami Car Accident Lawyers Mobile Texting Pic.jpgIt is astonishing how many people in Miami text while driving. Just yesterday, I observed a person behind the wheel driving down Biscayne Blvd., staring at his phone, texting with both of his hands as his car swerved from lane to lane. We wrote a blog just a couple of weeks ago on why Florida regulators must ban the use of hand held devices in Florida to insure that our roads are safer. Governor Rick Scott finally signed a law on May 28, 2013 banning the practice of texting while driving. This new law should impact how a Miami personal injury attorney can recover damages for a client who was hit by a driver who was texting.

Why driving while texting is a very dangerous practice.

Texting while driving is a very dangerous practice as it draws the driver’s attention away from traffic, road conditions and vehicle operation. Drivers, whose focus is on the device they are using rather than the road, are more prone to missing a red light, a stop sign or even seeing a pedestrian crossing the road. The vehicles these people drive can swerve as indicated above, causing other vehicles on the road to react as well as cause accidents of their own. People who engage in this negligent and reckless practice cause numerous automobile accidents each and every day.

Researcher Joshua Cohen of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis reported Continue reading →

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According the insurancejournal.com, an analysis of the top ten driving distractions that lead to fatal car accidents conducted by Erie Insurance shows that one in ten of the over 65,000 people killed in motor vehicle crashes over the last couple of years were involved in accidents where at least one of the drivers was distracted.

Eerie Insurance based the analysis on data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which is a nationwide census of fatal car accidents.

Many Distractions Cause Car Accidents

According to Doug Smith, Senior Vice President of Personal Lines at Erie Insurance, they looked at accident reports filled by police officers across the country and were disturbed about how many fatal car accidents were caused by distractions. The analysis included fatal crash reports from 2010 and 2011 and police officers listed a majority of drivers as “generally distracted” or “lost in thought”.

Being distracted is not the only distracting activity that drivers indulge in that causes car accidents. Among others, the ten most common are:

  1. Sixty two (62%) percent of drivers daydream, which is the common term for being “generally distracted” or “lost in thought”;
  2. Twelve percent (12%) of drivers were distracted using their cell phones (talking, listening to a conversation, dialing, texting);
  3. Seven percent (7%) of drivers were distracted by a person, object or event outside the vehicle (rubbernecking);
  4. Five (5%) percent of drivers were distracted talking to passengers or looking to other people traveling in their car;
  5. Two percent (2%) of drivers were distracted while trying to reach or using a device in their car (like headphones or a navigational devise like a GPS device);
  6. Another two percent (2%) of drivers were distracted while eating or drinking;
  7. Two percent (2%) of drivers were distracted while adjusting the radio or climate controls in their vehicle;
  8. One percent (1%) of drivers were distracted other controls integral to their car, like adjusting the rear view mirrors, seats or using the OEM navigation system in newer vehicles;
  9. Another one percent (1%) of drivers were distracted while trying to move an object (like a pet or a box) inside their vehicle or trying to get rid of an insect;
  10. One percent (1%) of drivers were distracted while smoking, which includes lighting up, putting ashes in the ashtray, etc.

Please note that as admitted by the authors of the analysis, the data from FARS is very difficult to verify because it is basically based on the police officer’s observation after the crash and the distracted driver’s reluctance to make any incriminating statements to the police after the accident. Yet, the authors feel that if anything, the numbers underscore the seriousness of the situation with driving distractions.

Moreover, despite the unverifiable nature of the data, the authors feel that the statistics are meaningful because as opposed to surveys where drivers self-report the different kinds of distracting behaviors they engage, this information relates to actual accidents and the actual police reports generated for those fatal crashes.

Don’t Let Devices Distract You

The solution is simple: don’t get distracted by devices. Erie Insurance recommends that drivers not answer incoming calls and let them go to voice mail. Otherwise, answer the call, tell them to call you later and hang up. Most of the times the incoming call will not relate to an emergency. If you see that the call is from a close relative (and thus feel that it may be an emergency), pull over if traffic and circumstances allow and take the call while stopped by the side of the road and not while driving. The same applies to texting. Finally, lead by example: show your children how to drive safely if you want them to eventually become safe drivers.
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