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 cell phones.
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.