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Distracted Driving, Miami Truck Accidents, and Legislation

Thanks to the efforts of advocacy groups, many Americans are now aware of the dangers of distracted driving. To help prevent Miami truck accidents, there are federal laws in place which prevent commercial drivers from texting and driving. However, Florida currently has no laws preventing other drivers from texting and driving. Distracted driving continues to be a major cause of Miami car collisions. According to the NHTSA, 16% of fatal car accidents across the country in 2009 involved distracted driving.

One problem with banning distracted driving and thus preventing more Miami traffic accidents is that distracted driving is hard to legislate. While the focus in recent years has been on distractions caused by texting, there are a number of things that truck drivers can do while driving that can be just as dangerous:

1) Using any mobile device. Using any mobile device can be a distraction, and the VTTI has found that using headsets or other hands-free devices is not significantly safer than using hand-held devices. In addition, police across the US have admitted that it is very difficult to catch drivers who text or talk while driving. Texting can be especially easy to hide, since drivers can keep their mobile device in their lap, where it will not be noticed by any drivers or police passing by. Even since the texting ban, a number of truck accidents have occurred because a driver was texting while driving.

2) Eating and drinking. Truck drivers routinely eat on the road, especially when they are trying to make a deadline. However, experts agree that eating and drinking are among the most dangerous things that drivers can do. Each year, many Miami car accidents and other traffic accidents occur when drivers are distracted by spilled food and drink in the car. As well, opening food packaging can take the driver’s eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for seconds at a time – more than enough time to cause a Miami pedestrian accident.

3) Grooming. Checking hair or other grooming tasks dangerously remove the driver’s eyes off the road. Again, however, this behavior is very difficult to legislate, especially as legislating something like this could be seen to infringe on personal rights.

4) Reading maps and using navigation systems. In many cases, truck drivers need to make deliveries in areas that are unfamiliar to them. As a result, many drivers rely on navigation systems or, less often, on maps, to get them to their destinations. Unfortunately, these tasks take the driver’s eyes off the road.

5) Entertainment. Perhaps one of the most distracting things that drivers do is also the most difficult to legislate. Truck drivers spend many weary hours on the road and most rely on some form of entertainment – such as audio books, radio stations, or music – to make the time go by. Unfortunately, focusing on this entertainment can distract the driver. As well, changing stations, adjusting music, or otherwise changing the entertainment can cause an accident.

If you have suffered injuries because of someone’s distracted or reckless driving, your case may be worth more than you realize. However, you will need a qualified Miami truck attorney, since in many cases distracted driving is difficult to prove. Truck carriers and drivers have teams of expert attorneys ready to defend them after an accident; you will want to make sure that you have a qualified Miami personal injury attorney ready to protect your rights. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your case with a South Florida attorney.