Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

When it comes to certain risky behaviors, it seems that U.S. teens are doing better. According to a U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Risk Behavior Survey, American teens are smoking less, drinking less, and fighting less.

Unfortunately, the study also found that teens are texting while driving more. The latest CDC report surveyed 13,000 high school students and found that more than 41 percent emailed or texted while driving in the month before the survey was taken. Overall, the survey found that teens were spending more than three hours per day on smartphones, computers, and video games.

The news that teen texting and driving is up is not good news. A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that texting or dialing a phone while driving is more likely to cause an automobile accident for teens between 15 and 20 than for adult drivers.
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A person who is texting while driving can be held liable for an accident that he or she has caused, but can the person who is exchanging messages with the driver also be held liable?

That question was recently brought to the forefront in a New Jersey trial after a couple claimed that not only was a texting driver responsible for injuries they suffered after he struck their motorcycle, but that his 17-year-old girlfriend who had been texting him right before accident was also liable.

The story made national headlines. How would the court come down on this issue?

The trial court dismissed the claim against the girlfriend. That decision was appealed and a New Jersey appellate court upheld the lower court ruling.
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Florida Teenager Text DrivingA study just released by researchers from the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York claims that the number of teenagers killed in texting while driving accidents now surpasses that of teens killed in alcohol-related accidents.

Researchers crunched the numbers and estimated that texting while driving accounts for 3,000 teen deaths and 300,000 injuries annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 2,700 teens died and 282,000 are injured in alcohol-related crashes each year.

A survey of 8,947 teenagers ages 15-18 revealed that an astounding 49 percent of teen boys had admitted that they had texted while driving and 45 percent of girls claimed they also participated in the practice.

And while one might assume that the practice might diminish as teens get older, the data showed the practice became even more prevalent as teens aged. While 24 percent of 15 year old teenagers admitted to texting while driving, a staggering 58 percent of 18-year-olds admitted to tapping out text messages while behind the wheel.
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Is this the year?

Understandably, the legal team at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, as well as other safety advocates and businesses concerned about devastating injuries and deaths caused by negligent and distracted drivers, is asking once again if this is the year that the Florida Legislature will enact some kind of texting-while-driving law.

Florida Texting While DrivingReports coming out of Tallahassee seem to be indicating that this might be the year the Florida legislature is ready to act to stem the dangerous practice. Florida is currently one of only five remaining states that still have no restrictions on texting-while-driving.

Rep. Doug Holder (R-Sarasota) along with Rep. Ray Philon (R-Sarasota) have sponsored the House version of an anti-texting bill in the form of HB 13. The bill passed through the House Transportation Committee by a unanimous vote — an accomplishment, considering that Holder-sponsored anti-texting bills have not seen the light of day in a House committee session in five years.

As expected, Senate anti-texting bill SB 52 has sailed through two different committees.

Both the Senate and the House bills would make texting-while-driving a secondary offense. In other words, law enforcement would not be able to stop a person solely for texting-while-driving in Florida, but could fine a motorist if he or she was stopped for another violation, like reckless driving.

According to the Bradenton Herald, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, AAA, AT&T, and the Florida PTA have all thrown their support behind the bills.

“At the end of the day, this is a no-brainer type of bill … the only people who benefit from this are the people,” Holder said of the bill he is co-sponsoring.

The law firm of Farah & Farah stands firmly behind any measure that will make Florida’s roads and highways safer. If you have been injured in a distracted driving crash, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call Farah & Farah at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online. Your case review is confidential and free.

Two new studies have revealed that not only is it dangerous for teens to text and drive, but that it is dangerous for them to even think about texting while driving.

While a variety of studies have concluded that as a major form of distracted driving, texting and driving is dangerous, some people have argued that banning the practice might actually make driving more dangerous by forcing texting teens to conceal their cell phones from view while driving to avoid getting ticketed.

One of the new studies found that texting and driving is dangerous no matter where the phone is located. Twenty-two teens using a driving simulator were told to drive under three different conditions: texting and driving with a cell phone hidden from view, texting with a cell phone in a preferred position, and driving without a cell phone at all.

The results indicated that there was no “safe position: that made texting less dangerous. The teen texters were up to eight times more likely to drift into another lane and were twice as likely to be in near misses with other cars and pedestrians (without even realizing it), whether the phone was put away or not.
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Florida Texting while DrivingApparently the note that texting while driving is dangerous has not reached the Florida Legislature yet. Despite the fact that 71 percent of Floridians would back a law that bans texting while driving, the legislature one again killed any meaningful legislation that would have dealt with it.

Insiders were unsurprised that legislation stalled in the House of Representatives, which has proven historically hostile to laws dealing with texting bans. The Senate proved more conducive to a new anti-texting law, having moved their distracted driving bill (SB 416) through four different committees. The Senate bill would have made texting while driving a secondary offense.

An officer can issue a citation for a secondary offense, but only after a motorist has been pulled over for a primary offense. So, in the Senate scheme, a motorist could not have been pulled over for texting while driving, but could have been ticketed for that offense if they had been pulled over for a primary offense like speeding or running a red light.
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Florida has never had a ban of any kind of texting while driving, and this year’s Florida legislative session may be a repeat of years past. The parents of a teenager killed in a head-on auto accident in 2008 because the other driver was texting behind the wheel came to Tallahassee to share their story with lawmakers hoping this year will be different. The girl’s parents told that losing a child is something you never want to experience, especially from something that could have been avoided.

In their case, their 17-year-old daughter was returning home from a play rehearsal at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School in Spring Hill about 7:15 p.m. A 19-year-old was eastbound on Hudson Avenue near Hays Road when she crossed the road and hit the first teen head-on. Both girls were wearing seat belts, and both died at the scene.
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Of the many dangers on the road in Jacksonville and throughout Florida that we have to contend with, perhaps the greatest hazard of them all is: ourselves.

According to the NHTSA, we are driving ourselves to deadly distraction- to the tune of 5,474 traffic fatalities in 2009 alone. Although any activity that can divert a person’s attention away from the task of driving – such as eating, talking to passengers, grooming, or adjusting a car radio – is considered distracted driving, it is cell phone use and texting while driving that is drawing the greatest scrutiny from state governments and federal agencies.

According to various studies, drivers who use a hand-held device while driving are 4 times more likely to get into crashes while those who send and receive texts create a crash risk 23 times greater than driving while not distracted. Sending and receiving a text while driving takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. A vehicle going 55 mph covers an entire football field in that time.
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We often report on distracted driving of all forms, but changing clothes while behind the wheel? As if putting on makeup and eating breakfast was not bad enough, a driver in Melbourne was observed by a witness changing clothing when she drove into the back of a school bus from Viera High School in Melbourne when school was letting out December 6. According to a report by the Florida Highway Patrol, children were getting off the bus at Oak Park Drive and St. Andrews in Suntree but fortunately they were not hurt. The clothes-changing driver, a young woman, was airlifted to a local hospital.

Distracted Driving

The distracted driving injury lawyers in Jacksonville of Farah & Farah is glad that no one was injured in this bus crash that could have been much worse. In fact, distracted driving was blamed for 448,000 traffic injuries and 5,474 fatalities in the U.S. in 2009. And as traffic fatalities are declining nationwide, the number of traffic crashes related to distracted driving has increased from 10 to 16 percent from 2005 to 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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