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April Marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Risk of Miami Car Accidents Increases with Distracted Driving

Throughout April, the National Safety Council (NSC) and FocusDriven are asking American’s to be considerate of other motorists on our roadways and request that drivers stop using their cell phones behind the wheel during the inaugural National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of all accidents — roughly 1.6 million crashes each year — are the result of drivers using cell phones and texting while driving.

Distracted driving significantly contributes to the number of West Palm Beach car accidents.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers recognize that cell phone usage and the use of other hand-held devices cause the greatest number of accidents. We urge you to practice safe and focused driving this month, and every other month of the year.

Both organizations, the NSC and FocusDriven, are encouraging motorists to commit to putting away their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle for the entire month. They’re suggesting drivers put their phones away, in the glove compartment or in their trunks, to reduce the temptations of using their device while driving. Motorists are also encouraged to change their voice mail to alert callers they may be driving.

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month was created last month as a resolution by Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO). It was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in a 410-2 vote on March 23. It was greatly influenced the 9-year-old Erica Forney who was hit and killed by a distracted driver in 2008.

According to, there are three types of distracted driving:

-Visual Distraction. This occurs when you take your eyes off the road for any reason at all, whether it’s because of the radio, another passenger or a hand-held device.

-Cognitive Distraction. This is when your mind is focused on something else besides driving. This can happen when a driver is irritated, tired, upset, etc.

-Manual Distraction. This is when you literally take your hands off the wheel. This is common with the use of cell phones and hand-held devices. With manual distraction, cognitive and visual distraction usually follow.

“If drivers can go one month without using their phones while driving, they will find out – as many of us have – work still gets done. Many drivers realize most of the calls they thought were so important, really aren’t. It is our hope drivers will decide to make the change permanently. Doing so will make our roadways safer for everyone,” said Jennifer Smith, FocusDriven president and founding board member.

Police-reported accidents provide alarming statistics:

-In 2009, there were nearly 31,000 fatal accidents in the United States. In those accidents 33,808 vehicle occupants died.

– In 2009, approximately 5,500 of those 33,808 motorists were killed in accidents involving driver distraction.

-The number of accidents involving drivers that were reportedly distracted at the time of the accident increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009

-Drivers under the age of 20 had the highest proportion of distracted drivers that were involved in fatal accidents. The younger age groups also recorded the most fatal distracted driving incidents.

If you or a loved one has been in a distracted driving accident in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.

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