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Florida Introduces “Safe Phone Zones” to Discourage Distracted Driving

The fact that distracted driving causes accidents is not news to anyone. Concerns about distracted driving stretch back to the early 1900s when Chevrolet introduced the first car radio and opponents proposed laws banning them for fear that they would increase accidents. Now, cell phone calls and texting have raised similar concerns, causing significant increases in the number of distracted driving accidents across the state. States across the country are moving to ban cell phone use or handset use while people are behind the wheel.

While Florida has already banned texting while driving, the state is trying a new tactic to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers. The state is introducing signs that designate certain rest areas as “safe phone zones” in an effort to encourage drivers to pull off the road before using their phones.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

While most people know that distracted driving causes accidents, many do not understand the full extent of the issue. For instance, most people think that they are fine as long as they keep their eyes on the road, but that is not the case. While the fact that texting or calling someone often takes someone’s vision off the road is not helpful, what the distraction does in a person’s head is harmful too.

People tend to think that they are good multitaskers, but that is not how their minds work. The human brain cannot handle multiple tasks at once. Instead, it switches between them at high speed. While people’s brains are pretty good at switching like that, they are not perfect. The speed is enough that the tasks are performed nearly simultaneously, but the quality of both tasks degrades. For instance, if a person is talking on the phone hands free with their eyes on the road, their perception is still worse than someone who is not on the phone. People watching the road while they talk on their phones are prone to miss hazards purely because they’re dividing their concentration.

Safe Phone Zones

Laws against distracted driving may play a role in reducing dangerous accidents, but they are not the only way to go about making driving safer. Florida’s new safe phone zones represent an alternative strategy. The idea is to nudge people into safer driving behaviors, rather than trying to force the issue with stricter laws.

The safe phone zones will mark a variety of rest areas across the state, such as services plazas and welcome areas. The signs do not imply that there is any special facility for phone use at the areas. Instead, it is a subtler strategy. The signs are designed to provide a constant reminder about the dangers of distracted driving, and to give motorists a safer alternative to using their phones while they are on the road.

Distracted driving is a careless activity that can cause serious accidents. If you or one of your loved ones was injured in a traffic accident with a distracted driver, contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney at Pike & Lustig, LLP today. Our firm is here to help you hold distracted drivers responsible for their behavior.

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