Since state lawmakers are dragging their feet when it comes to enacting laws to regulate driver distractions in Florida, federal officials are stepping to the plate to help get these types of laws enacted. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation revealed its decision to call for a final rule to ban commercial drivers of trucks and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating these large vehicles. Before this, these drivers were only outlawed from using text messaging devices while driving. As we recently reported on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are now making a recommendation for all drivers to be prohibited from using any type of portable electronic device while behind the wheel to help to reduce the risks of distraction-related car accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere.
“Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne S. Ferro.
Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand that as we round out the remainder of 2011, our risks for car accidents in Southwest Florida will increase significantly. Although Florida is one of only a few states in the U.S. that has failed to enact a law to regulate these distractions for drivers, everyone is urged to willingly curb these distractions while driving along our busy roadways through the holiday season. Behind the wheel, our attention is meant to be placed on the roadway and not on unnecessary electronic devices or other types of distractions.
The Florida Highway Patrol offers these safety tips to help to curb distractions:
-Always keep driving as your number one priority. If your phone rings when you’re driving, just let it ring. If someone needs to talk to you or tell you something, they’re sure to leave a message. You can always call them back once you’ve stopped your vehicle in a safe place.
-Always keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Dial a phone number when you’re stopped at a stop sign or at a red light. If you’ve got to answer a phone, do it in a way that you don’t have to reach far for your phone or search for it in your car.
-Always be ready. If you know you’re expecting a call, either call the person before you start driving to tell them you’ll call back later or keep your phone in an easily accessible place in your car.
-Keep the conversation light. Try not to engage in lengthy conversations at the wheel. Lengthy, in-depth conversations can take your attention off of the roadways. Keep driving as a primary task.
-Always use your common sense. You know when it’s safe to talk on a phone and when it’s not. If it can’t wait, you’re best to make it wait. No phone call or text message is worth someone’s life.
Contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, if you or a family member has been involved a car accident with a distracted driver in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sebring, Naples or in any of the surrounding areas. For experienced advice about your rights, call 1-800-283-2900 for a free case evaluation.
More Blog Entries:
Officials Pushing for Tougher Nationwide Laws to Help Curb Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 17, 2011
Local Officers in Search of Drunk, Drugged and Distracted Drivers to Prevent Fatal Car Accidents in Lee County through Holidays, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2011