Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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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According to a new study by State Farm Insurance, there is cause to worry about car and truck accidents in Homestead at this time of year. According to the study, about 32% of polled drivers admitted that they become more aggressive on the roads during the holiday season. Those under the age of 49 and those who are parents are especially prone to aggressive driving.

According to the study’s authors, a large part of the problem is the pressure of the holidays. People feel more stress during the holidays as they try to find presence, try to do more, and worry about finances. All of these factors can be a distraction behind the wheel and can also contribute to aggressive driving.

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In addition to the stress and pressure of the holidays, this time of year also means more traffic. There is more truck traffic in particular as more stores order additional merchandise and as customers order gift deliveries and other deliveries for the holiday season. The extra pressure and the extra traffic can make for a deadly combination.

According to a study by University of Alabama professor David Brown, as a result of the pressure the holidays, there is a spike in traffic accidents during this time of year. Looking at 10 years of crash data, Brown concluded that the six days around Christmas are especially prone to accidents. During this period of time, there are 18% more reported collisions than during Thanksgiving, which is the heaviest travel period of the year. The six days around Christmas also see 27% more crashes than New Year’s Eve, when drunk driving accidents in Homestead and other communities is a concern. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, reported claims for car accidents increase by 20% in the month of December, and this may not reflect the total number of car accidents, since minor fender benders in parking lots may go unreported.

According to safety experts, there are a number of things that can be done in order to help prevent car accidents at this time of year:

1) Be aware of the risks. Knowing that there are more truck and car accidents in Homestead and other communities at this time of year means that you can be more cautious when driving. According to Brown, this year, the Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Christmas are all especially prone to traffic accidents. Last-minute shoppers will be traveling on these days, stores will be open, and that will be compounded by commuter traffic and by people leaving for the holidays during the weekend.

2) Focus on reducing speed. Speed can especially lead to tragic accidents and speeding is considered one of the most common outcomes of aggressive driving. Staying within speed limits can help reduce your risk of an accident and can increase your chances of surviving a collision.

3) Reduce distractions. Especially with more traffic on the road, it is important to fully focus on driving. Put away cell phones, shopping lists, and any other distractions. When driving, try not to focus on your to do list or the pressures and stresses you may be facing; instead, focus on driving and on getting to your destination safely.

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The Erie Insurance Group took a look at more than 65 000 fatal traffic accidents that took place between 2010 and 2011. The study found that about 62% of the one in ten accidents attributed to distracted driving were linked to daydreaming. Researchers concluded that this meant that daydreaming was five times more often linked to collisions than mobile devices.

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Daydreaming is a problem for a number of reasons:

•Drivers may not be aware that they are doing it
•Daydreaming removes focus from driving, making drivers miss important information right in front of them
•There is no way to legislate against daydreaming to keep roads safer
•Drivers are not often aware of the dangers of daydreaming
•Daydreaming means that drivers are sometimes so distracted that they cannot remember entire parts of their drive
According to experts, there are several things that can be done to prevent collisions caused by distracted driving:

1) Get plenty of rest before driving. Feeling tired can be dangerous and can make it harder to focus, making it harder to avoid daydreaming. Fatigued driving has also been linked to many traffic accidents in Homestead across the country, which is another good reason to get plenty of rest before you drive.

2) Consider the possible next moves of drivers and pedestrians around you. If you don’t occupy your mind with driving, it’s all too easy to start thinking of something else, losing focus. Planning ahead and thinking three moves ahead will ensure you are thinking about driving – not something that distracts you.


3) Keep your eyes moving
. Studies have shown that keeping your eyes in one place allows you to miss more visual cues, which can lead to a pedestrian accident or another type of traffic accident.

4) Be aware of the dangers of daydreaming. Many people see it is a harmless activity but the recent study does suggest just how dangerous it can be. Knowing the danger and catching yourself if you find your mind wandering can make a big difference.

5) Change up your routine and daily drive. Taking the same route can make it easier for your mind to wander, since you may be so familiar and bored with the usual scenery.

6) Chew something, especially something brittle or crunchy. Some studies have suggested that this can help curb daydreaming and loss of focus.

7) Take frequent breaks on longer drives. Longer drives are a challenge because it is difficult to focus on the road and on your driving when you have been sitting in the car and trying to focus for long periods of time. Taking breaks allows you to stretch, relax, and even eat or drink something so that you can start on the next leg of your journey feeling refreshed.

8) If you have trouble with daydreaming, set up a system to catch yourself before you lose focus. For example, you might want to check in with yourself at every stop sign or traffic light to see whether you have been daydreaming or you may want to check in at the end of every song on the radio. If you find yourself daydreaming, bring your focus back to driving.

Of course, commercial truck drivers may need to work even harder to stay aware of the risks of daydreaming. They are on the road all day, in some cases, and this can make it easier to daydream or lose focus. Staying completely focused over a long drive is especially difficult because focus takes a lot of mental agility. Drivers who daydream and otherwise allow themselves to get distracted are at greater risk of trucking accidents in Homestead and other communities.

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A T-Bone car accident or truck accident in Hollywood is an accident where a truck hits the side doors of your vehicle. These types of accidents tend to take place in busy intersections after a truck driver has driven through a red light or has failed to stop at a stop sign.

These types of accidents tend to be catastrophic. The size and force of a truck can literally break through your side door so that the truck crushes everyone inside. The flying glass in this impact can cause scarring and eye injuries. Even if you have side impact airbags, they will not often do much to prevent serious and even fatal injuries in this type of truck accident.

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There are many reasons why these types of truck and car accidents happen:

•A truck driver may fall asleep at the wheel and run a red light or a stop sign
•A truck driver may be speeding and may be unable to stop in time when he or she gets to an intersection
•A truck driver may be distracted and not notice the intersection
•A truck driver may fail to yield right of way
•A truck driver may be inebriated or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and may not realize that he or she needs to stop
•A truck driver may run a red light or stop sign due to impatience, road rage, or some other cause
•The truck driver may have a medical emergency and lose control of the vehicle
•Brake failure may be the cause
Who is liable in your injuries after a side-impact accident involving a truck? The driver of the vehicle that hit you is the one primarily liable in many cases. You can pursue them and their insurance company through a legal claim. However, if your car did not provide a high standard of protection in the crash, you may also have a product liability claim in Hollywood against the manufacturer. The motor carrier or truck driver may be held liable if the driver was driving fatigued or if the truck was not in good repair.

If the accident happened at a high collision intersection, poor road design or poor road maintenance may have played a role, and the people responsible for maintaining the roads or designing roads in the area may also be held partly liable. You may in fact have many legal options after your accident, so you may want to speak with a personal injury attorney in Hollywood or your community in order to review all the possibilities.

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While there have been many attempts made to ban texting and driving in Florida, in order to really stop car accidents in Homestead and across the state, what really needs to change is the psychology and attitudes of drivers. Beyond mobile devices, there are a number of causes of distracted driving and traffic accidents in Homestead and Florida. Not all of those distractions can be stopped with a new law, and some causes of accidents – such as careless driving – are hard to legislate and enforce.

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To make a big difference in reducing the number of car and truck collisions in Homestead and across the country, we need to make some bigger attitude changes, such as:

1) We need to re-define focus. Many people multi-task when driving but are still convinced that they are concentrating on the road and not distracted. All drivers need to redefine distracted driving to mean driving while doing anything that can remove focus from the road. Undistracted driving means thinking and concentrating only on driving. Anything that removes that focus – even for a second or two – is dangerous and can easily lead to a pedestrian accident in Homestead or our community.

2) We need to get more modest about our importance. Many of us try to get everything done and try to do a little bit more. This creates a dangerous situation where we are multi-tasking – even when driving. We assume that the text message, phone call, or drive can’t wait. Doctors have been saying for years that stress is one of the leading causes of disease and health problems, and stress can contribute to traffic accidents, too. We need to recognize that if we let go of some things on our to-do list, we will be healthier, happier, and safer.

3) We need to get more humble about our driving skills. Studies have shown that many drivers are overconfident when it comes to their driving skills, assuming that they can handle distractions and other dangerous situations. When actually tested, however, motorists are not able to handle distraction or as much alcohol as they think they can without becoming dangerous drivers. Being humble about driving expertise and acknowledging that driving needs to be treated with respect and caution is very important when it comes to driving safely.

4) We need to get more polite. Aggressive driving, impatience, road rage, and cutting drivers off is not just rude – it can easily escalate into a traffic collision in Homestead or your community. Slow down and treat other drivers with courtesy and you may find your community’s streets getting a little safer.

What about you? What attitude changes do you think need to be made by Florida drivers to make driving safer in Homestead and across the state?

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Driver fatigue and distraction is a major concern for long-haul commercial truckers. Even though truck drivers are required to take more training and submit to more rigorous testing than most motorists, the long hours they spend behind the wheel combined with unusual work shifts, can make these drivers more vulnerable to both fatigue and distraction. Unfortunately, the stakes are also higher. When commercial truck drivers are distracted, they can cause catastrophic traffic collisions in Homestead and other cities. There are many types of distraction that truck drivers are susceptible to:

1) Highway hypnosis. Long hours on the road can itself be distracting. Since it is difficult to focus for an entire shift, drivers may begin find themselves focusing less, especially along long stretches of highways. This can easily lead to a car or pedestrian accident in Homestead or another community.

2) Work-related tasks. Some truck carriers expect truck drivers to be “on call” all the time and complete other work-related tasks – such as speaking to dispatch – during a drive. When truck drivers are expected to pick up cell phone calls or text information about their deliveries, however, accidents are a common result. A good personal injury attorney in Homestead or your community can work to determine whether motor carrier policies are a factor in a crash.

3) Mobile devices. Mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets, MP3 players, and other devices remove a driver’s focus from driving and their eyes from the road. There is texting ban in place for all truck drivers operating commercial vehicles, but some drivers still use cell phones and other devices while driving.

4) Truck systems. Changing music, adjusting mirrors, and taking care of other basic tasks inside the cabin can distract a truck driver for a few seconds at a time – more than enough time for the truck to cause an accident.

5) Personal issues. Like all drivers, truck drivers may become distracted by personal worries and stress, thinking about their own problems or even their to-do lists rather than driving. Long-haul drives and long shifts can contribute to this.

6) Daydreaming. Studies released in the past year have highlighted the fact that daydreaming and focusing on anything other than driving can and does lead to car crashes and traffic collisions. Even if a driver is not taking their eyes from the road, the mind misses important cues during daydreaming.

7) Events on the road. Accidents on the road, billboards, other drivers, pedestrians, and road work can all lead to rubbernecking and distraction as well as secondary car accidents.

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According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, distracted driving is a serious concern for truck drivers, with distracted driving causing truck collisions in Hollywood and other cities across the country. In many cases, distracted driving was caused by:

•Eating and drinking
•Mobile devices
•Watching people or other cars
•Smoking
•Reading a map
•Playing with radios or other devices
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Motorists cause car accidents in Hollywood and other cities with these same distractions, but the results of a large truck accident can be even more devastating. Due to the size and force of trucks, the results of this type of accident are more likely to result in severe injury or even fatalities. According to safety experts, there are several things that truck drivers can do to help prevent distracted driving and resulting accidents:

1) Avoid temptation by turning off mobile devices. Texting while driving is banned by federal law for commercial truck drivers, but when a mobile device indicates an incoming message, it is human nature to be curious.

2) Set up the cab so that simple driving-tasks can be completed without distraction. This can mean programming music so that there is no need to adjust the radio, or having water and other necessities on hand so that there is no need to hunt for these items while driving.


3) Focus on driving and take frequent breaks
. One of the big challenges for truck drivers is that they drive for so long. This can make it easy for the mind to wander – a major hazard. Regular breaks can help.

4) Ensure plenty of good quality rest. It is harder to stay focused when the mind is fatigued, so regular sleep and quality sleep can help with mental alertness. In addition to getting enough hours, it is important to get good quality sleep, and that can mean addressing issues such as sleep apnea and other conditions that can affect sleep quality.

5) Maintain good health. Illness in itself can be distracting, especially if a drive is thinking about a doctor’s appointment or the latest troubling symptom rather than the road. Maintaining good health is also important to sleeping well and avoiding distraction.

6) Keep in mind that distracted driving does not just mean mobile devices. Anything that takes the mind off of driving, the eyes off the road, or the hands from the wheel is a distraction — and can lead to a traffic accident in Hollywood. Drivers need to be very vigilant about the many distractions that are all around them and work to prevent these distractions from causing an accident.

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