Cell Phone-Using Drivers Endangering South Florida Cyclists and Pedestrians

Distracted drivers are causing a real headache on our roadways — especially for bicyclists and pedestrians. In a perfect world, we’d like to believe that everyone is on their best behavior behind the wheel. But the truth of the matter is that drivers are paying more attention to their phones and text messaging devices than anything else.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at any given daylight moment across America approximately 650,000 drivers are using their cell phone or manipulating an electronic device while driving.

Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys understand that cyclists need to be more cautious than ever. We can’t expect drivers to be looking for us. All too often, bicyclists and pedestrians are being injured and killed on our roadways because drivers are looking at their phones instead of the road. Throughout National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, drivers are asked to get off their phones and pay more attention to their surroundings.

According to the NHTSA’s “SAFETY 1N NUM3ERS” online monthly auto safety newsletter, about half of all surveyed drivers say that they’re free to take incoming calls while behind the wheel. Twenty-five percent say that they’re willing to make calls while driving. Only about half of drivers say that they never make calls behind the wheel.

Let’s do the numbers:

-More than 210 million licensed drivers in the U.S.

-More than 100 million answer phone calls behind the wheel.

-Roughly 50 million make phone calls while driving.

-At any given moment in time, there are roughly 660,000 drivers on a cell phone or using an electronic device while driving.

In 2010, there were well over 3,000 people killed in distracted driving car accidents in the U.S. These were 3,000 fatalities that were completely preventable. In addition, there were nearly 400,000 people injured in these accidents.

“Distracted driving is a serious and deadly epidemic on America’s roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

According to recent studies, close to 75 percent of drivers support laws banning cell phone use behind the wheel. Another 95 percent support laws banning texting while driving. When asked, drivers felt that the fines for breaking these laws should be at least $200. In far too many cases, drivers just don’t seem to care. When they’re out there behind the wheel, their cell phones matter more than you safety. Many drivers think that they can multitask safely. That’s nothing more than a myth, according to researchers.

As you might know, Florida is one of only a few states that has yet to enact any kind of distracted-driving measure. We’re allowed to talk on phones and text message behind the wheel without any fear of getting a ticket. But just because we’re legally allowed doesn’t mean that we should. Save a life — possibly yours — and hang up the phone while driving.

Contact Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorney Richard Ansara at 954 761-3641 or toll-free at 877-277-3780 for a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Palm Beach Loses Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, April 4, 2013

Lauderdale Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents Often Caused by Distracted Drivers, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, March 27, 2013

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