There have been numerous attempts to make talking on a cell phone and texting at the wheel illegal for drivers across the nation. Previously, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced a final rule to prohibit bus and truck drivers from using cell phones at the wheel. This rule included hand-held phones but not hands-free phones. This was one of the most recent attempts to curb driver distraction, until the latest proposal from the NTSB that we recently discussed on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog.
Under the most recent federal proposal, the NTSB urged state and federal lawmakers to prohibit the use of all portable electronic devices, including hands-free devices, to help stop the alarming rate of distraction-related car accidents in Boca Raton and elsewhere. Florida is one of only a few states that has not enacted a law to prohibit or regulate the use of these devices by and or all drivers.
Our Boca Raton car accident lawyers understand that if the federal government can pass a law prohibiting bus and truck drivers from using a cell phone or a text messaging device at the wheel then more prohibitions are possible. It’s only a matter of time. It may not be anytime soon though as Florida has already demonstrated its hesitation for such bans through a number of rejected proposals in recent years.
According to House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, enforcing these types of laws is difficult because there are already so many distractions that can’t be regulated by law enforcement officers. He says there’s really no use in enacting a law to prohibit some behavior and not all of them.
“I’ve heard evidence that eating fast food, or men fixing their ties, or women fixing their makeup…is just as distracting, perhaps more so, than sending someone a text message,” Cannon said.
In 2010, there were approximately 3,100 people killed in traffic accidents that involved a distracted driver. These accidents are preventable. All it requires is a little bit of driver awareness and responsibility. Drivers need to be held accountable for their decisions behind the wheel. Until residents are able to recognize the dangers associated with driver distractions, our roadways will continue to be plagued with these unnecessary accidents.
“When drivers…take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
As we are well into the holiday travel season, transportation officials would like to remind you to voluntarily give up the distractions at the wheel. The New Year’s and Christmas holidays are two of the most dangerous times to be on our roadways. Last year, there were more than 400 fatal accidents that occurred during the second half of December. Be cautious and alert on our roadways when traveling to holiday gatherings with friends and family members to avoid a potentially fatal accident.