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A Few Seconds of Distracted Driving Can Cause Devastation, Says US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

This week, lawmakers, safety experts, law enforcement officials, and members of the public turned the spotlight on distracted driving. More than 250 people attended the US Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Summit, which focused on the dangers of multitasking while driving. Cell phone use and texting while driving, now the main means that many people communicate, were among the primary distracted driving habits that were discussed. Statistics from 2008, provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reported close to 6,000 distracted driving deaths and more than half a million injuries. During any day last year, over 800,000 drivers used a handheld cellular phone while behind the wheel. On Wednesday evening, President Obama signed an executive order banning federal workers from texting when they are riding a government-owned motor vehicle or while driving while on the job. Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it will press US states to pass distracted driving laws. The government also says that it is working on banning interstate bus drivers and truck drivers from text messaging while driving. According to Virginia Tech researches, reaching for an electronic device or dialing a phone increases any driver’s crash risk by 6 times. Truckers who text increase their truck accident risk by 23 times. Car and Driver magazine says texting while driving is even more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. There are no laws in Florida banning people from texting or that restricts cell phone use while driving. This means that Florida motorists are free to engage in both activities without fear of any legal repercussions—but that doesn’t mean that there are no tragic consequences that can ensue. As US Transportation State Ray LaHood reminded summit attendees, it only takes a few seconds for a catastrophic car accident to happen. It takes many distracted drivers even longer to dial a cell phone, read text messages, fiddle with an iPod, surf the web, paint their nails, or read a magazine. Distracted drivers can be held liable for Florida personal injury or wrongful death. Texting while driving banned for federal workers, Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2009 Contact our Broward County, Florida car accident lawyers today.

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