In 2012, 33,561 people lost their lives in
car accidents across the United States. This was the first time in nearly a decade that
accident fatalities have increased. A large number of those crashes occurred
because drivers were driving inattentively and interacting with their
In order to combat the rising fatalities and
injuries, many states have adopted cell phone bans, which ban drivers from texting
or holding a cellphone in their hands while driving. Drivers are allowed,
however, to use hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth devices. Yet is
this really any safer?
A recent study released by Texas A&M University reviewed National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration data to estimate the effect of cell phone
bans on driving behavior. The study found that visible cell phone use
drops 50% the moment cell phone bans go into effect, but that does not
necessarily translate into fewer accidents or deaths. In fact, the data
suggested that handheld cell phone bans did not actually reduce the number
of car accidents at all, despite drivers visually obeying these laws.
One reason for this could be that many people try to conceal their cell
phone use, which could make them drive more erratically and dangerously.
In addition, studies have shown that the cognitive effects of carrying
on a conversation while driving, still leads to drivers missing critical
information on the road—such as sudden stops in traffic or children
getting ready to dart out in the street.
If a distracted driver has injured you or someone you love, it is important
to review all of your legal options. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury
lawyer may be able to have the negligent driver’s cellphone records
examined to determine if cell phone use led to your accident—and
subsequently your injuries. Currently, Florida does not have a cell phone
ban in place or require hands-free devices while driving. It does, however,
ban drivers from texting while driving.