NTSB Wants to Put a Brake on Texting and Driving; Florida Legislators Continue to Say “Not in Our State”

Dec 20, 2011 Posted by in Motor Vehicle Accidents and Safety

The federal government’s primary highway safety board has determined that driving while texting is deadly, resulting in too many preventable automobile accidents. As a result, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for a nationwide “ban [of] the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers.”

The decision came after the board reviewed a deadly accident sequence involving two school buses, a tractor-trailer cab, and a passenger vehicle, which occurred on August 5, 2010, in Gray Summit, MO. The board found that in the initial Gray Summit collision, the probable cause was distraction, likely because of a conversation via text messaging.

This ban follows the September cell phone ban NTSB called for regarding commercial drivers. That recommendation from the NTSB called for banning commercial drivers from talking on cell phones, except in emergency situations. While these bans are seen as extreme by many, the NTSB has seen first-hand the tragedy that results when drivers are distracted by texting and talking on cell phones.

Florida car accident attorney Philip DeBerard supports implementing bans on cell phone use and texting while driving. DeBerard said, “Every year, people across Florida and the Treasure Coast lose their lives in accidents that could have been prevented if motorists made better choices with their cell phones.”

DeBerard is so passionate about halting texting and driving that his Florida personal injury law firm sponsors a Facebook campaign to help end distracted driving. The Facebook page is entitled Hang Up and Drive!

Last week, we reported that the Florida legislature would be considering a texting ban when they are back in session in January. Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, is one of the primary supporters of the ban. However, in an article last week in TCPalm.com, House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, sees the NTSB recommendation as adding “one more layer of prohibitive behavior.” Cannon added that he and the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature are “wary of steps aimed at government-regulating private behavior.”

On December 8, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the final results of the 2010 traffic fatality data and the findings from a survey regarding cell phone usage while driving. The year 2010 marked the first time the NHTSA included data on “distraction-affected crashes,” which focuses on distractions that are most likely to affect crash involvement, such as distraction by dialing a cellular phone or texting, and distraction by an outside person/event. The data showed an estimated 3,092 fatalities in distraction-affected crashes in 2010.

In the NHTSA’s survey of drivers, more than three-quarters of drivers reported that they were willing to answer calls on all, most or some trips. Furthermore, most drivers said they were willing to send a text while driving, and these drivers rarely consider traffic situations when deciding whether to use their phone.

Ironically, almost all of these same drivers reported that they would feel very unsafe as a passenger if their driver was sending or receiving text messages.
Careless driving was the leading cause of vehicle accidents in Florida last year, according to Florida’s 2010 crash statistics. More than 47,500 careless driving accidents resulted in injuries, and 332 resulted in a fatality.

The car accident attorneys at Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, agree with NTSB officials. It is time to let Americans know that the government is serious about keeping our roads safe. When behind the wheel of a car, drivers need to focus on driving and hold their phone calls and texting until they arrive safely at their destination.

About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida and the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, product liability, dog bite injuries, swimming pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.

Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, Palm Beach, and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast.

If a distracted driver in Florida has injured you or someone you love, call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.

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