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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Safe driving tips for Florida motorists

Auto accidents can occur at any time through someone's negligence. While nobody can completely prevent crashes, Florida drivers can still reduce the chances of one through various safe practices. For example, drivers should keep their eyes on the road at all times, avoiding all cell phone use. They should not eat or reach for things that have fallen to the floor.

Speeding reduces the time that drivers can react; therefore, it must be avoided. As for drunk or even "buzzed" driving, it is out of the question. Seat belt use is essential; young children must use them too so that they are not as much of a distraction. Safety advocates also warn against drowsiness, which can impair motorists just as much as alcohol.

Is speed the biggest danger on Florida roadways?

Long ago, many people in Florida and elsewhere used to get in their cars to take leisurely drives with their loved ones. In fact, Sundays, in particular, were known for country drives, visits with relatives and potluck suppers at small community churches. Things have changed. You may feel like your life is at risk every time you get behind the wheel; the reality is that it often may be, especially if a reckless driver is in your midst.

Sadly, thousands of people throughout the nation lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents every year. When accident analysts compile statistics on such incidents, they often find common factors between them. If you know the types of issues that most often lead to serious collisions, you may be able to improve your safety. Then again, you may be a safe and cautious driver; however, if the guy next to you is negligent, you may suffer the consequences and wind up needing immediate support.

Study claims that females are more likely to drive distracted

Experts say that mobile phone use is a factor in roughly a quarter of all car crashes throughout Florida and the rest of America. A study conducted by the Society for Risk Analysis shows that talking on a phone doubles the risk for a crash while texting increases that risk by sixfold. However, researchers found that many drivers are unconvinced of the dangers and have negative attitudes toward road safety.

First of all, the study profiled those groups that had the strongest intention of driving distracted. Researchers identified four such categories: women drivers, drivers with negative attitudes toward safety, uninhibited drivers and drivers who call and text frequently. Women were found to be more likely than men to use their phones behind the wheel. Less experienced drivers were more likely to be distracted, too.

Keeping truckers in Florida safe with data and tech

Distracted drivers cause some of the most serious accidents because they often neglect to slow down or take action to mitigate impact. This is why trucking companies, which often manage fleets of large vehicles that can cause a lot of damage, must take extra steps to prevent driver distractions. Technology provides the most distractions, but ironically, technology may also provide the solution.

For years, fleets have been using vehicle data measuring hard braking and acceleration to determine when drivers are putting themselves in risky situations. New fleet management systems from companies like PeopleNet and SmartDrive offer in-cab video monitoring, which can turn on when adverse events occur, and driver-coaching tools. Netradyne will even have a system that gives audible warnings and notifications to drivers.

Safely sharing Florida roads with motorcycles

Many residents of Florida enjoy the freedom and excitement brought by riding a motorcycle. If you are a person who appreciates the freedom of the open road and opts to ride a motorcycle for enjoyment, you understand the importance of safely sharing the road. Unfortunately, many drivers do not understand the importance of this.

When other motorists drive recklessly or engage in dangerous behavior, it places bikers and their passengers at risk. It is not difficult to drive safely around motorcycles, but it requires awareness and caution. If you are a biker and you were hurt in an accident caused by another driver, you have rights.

Study examines truck drivers and fatigue-related crashes

Truck drivers in Florida who are farther from weigh stations, rest areas and truck stops may be more likely to crash. This was among the results of a study done by the University of Kentucky that examined accident data in that state between 2005 and 2014. The study appeared online in November.

In the analysis, researchers identified 7,538 accidents that were the fault of the commercial truck driver and further identified 284 that had fatigue as a factor. Researchers found that more than 40 miles from a rest option, crashes in which the driver was at fault and fatigue was a factor were seven times more likely to happen. At 20 to 40 miles away, there was more than double the likelihood. Researchers also identified nighttime driving as a factor in fatigue-related crashes. Parkways tended to have both fewer rest options and a higher rate of accidents for commercial truck drivers suffering from fatigue.

The dangers of drowsy driving

A smart Florida driver should be vigilant whenever they are on the road. After all, driving accidents are the leading cause of premature death in the United States. These crashes cost the country $230.6 billion dollars on an annual basis, which averages out to $820 per citizen. It is estimated that more than 100,000 car accidents can be attributed to drowsy driving every year.

Drowsiness can have several negative impacts on drivers. Similar to being drunk, drowsiness impairs a driver's judgment, reaction time and cognition. When a driver is drowsy, their reflexes are slowed down, increasing the possibility of a collision. Drowsy drivers are also liable to nod off and fall asleep behind the wheel, which can spell disaster for them and their fellow motorists.

Drugged driving is becoming a bigger problem in Florida

Florida readers are aware of the great dangers associated with drinking and driving. Alcohol can diminish a person's mental cognition, vision and reactions, leading to an increased chance of a car accident. Florida authorities continue to combat drunk driving, but some believe that drugged driving could eventually become a more prevalent issue. 

Many types of drugs can impact a person's ability to drive safely. You understand illicit drugs are dangerous, especially when consumed by a person who decides to operate a motor vehicle, but certain prescription drugs can also affect a driver's abilities. Marijuana, even when used for medical purposes, is dangerous to consume before driving.

Automated technology can make motorcycles safer

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 28 times as many motorcycle fatalities in 2016 compared to car fatalities per mile traveled. However, automated technology may hold the key to making motorcycles safer in Florida and throughout the country. For example, an adaptive cruise control system can help motorcycles keep their distance from vehicles and reduce the odds of a collision.

A company called Ride Vision creates cameras that provide a 360 degree view of a rider's surroundings. Lights attached to the rearview mirrors will go off when there is a chance of an accident taking place. While these systems are similar to the ones put into cars, they are generally easier to develop. This is because most motorcycle riding is done in good conditions, which means that there are fewer variables to account for when creating the technology.

Car navigation systems can be as distracting as cellphones

The recent surge in distracted driving accidents in Florida and around the country is often blamed on cellphone use, but research from the American Automobile Association reveals that using the sophisticated navigation and entertainment technology found in most new vehicles can be just as distracting for drivers. The organization's Foundation for Traffic Safety arrived at this conclusion after evaluating the electronics systems in vehicles manufactured by Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Kia.

The study was conducted at the University of Utah, and it involved 64 participants sending text messages, making phone calls, adjusting audio settings and programming navigation systems while behind the wheel. The participants were then asked to complete the same series of tasks after the electronic systems in the cars had been paired with smartphones using applications from Apple and Android. The researchers noticed that all of the systems studied made high or very high demands on drivers. The CarPlay and Auto apps did save some time, but the researchers noticed several situations where the participants were still dangerously distracted.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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