Distracted Driving

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Category: Car Accidents |

There is a growing awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, but this has not prevented drivers from engaging in this unsafe behavior. It is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that distracted driving is responsible for over 3,000 traffic deaths annually. You cannot drive safely unless you have your entire focus on the task of driving. While you cannot prevent other drivers from distracted driving, there are some steps you can take to avoid distracted driving. Put Your Phone Away The most important thing you can do to avoid distracted driving is to put your phone in your purse or glove compartment so that you are not tempted to use it while driving. Texting and driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it takes your visual and cognitive attention off the road. Cell phones should only be used in cases of emergency, and when doing so, it is important to try and pull over to the side of the road. Finish Personal Grooming Before You Get on the Road  Make sure you fix your hair and makeup before getting behind the wheel. Applying makeup and performing other grooming tasks while driving can be very dangerous. Adjust Your Position Before Driving Before you start driving, make sure that your mirrors and seat have been comfortably adjusted. Making changes while driving can be distracting and take your attention off the road. Don’t Eat Behind the Wheel.  Take that meal home or pull over before you eat it. Balancing a burger and a drink can be very distracting and messy. Your hunger can wait. Minimize Distractions in the Car Try not to overload your car with passengers. Ask your passengers to keep the noise level down so that you can maintain your focus on the road. Explain to your children the importance of allowing the driver of a car to focus on their driving. If your baby or pet has become a distraction, pull over and take care of their needs before you drive any further. Pull Over to Program Your Navigation System One of the most important ways you can avoid distracted driving is to refrain from programming your navigation system while driving. Pull over or program the system before you get on the road. Taking your visual and cognitive attention off the road can be deadly. Call Out Distracted Driving If you are the passenger in a car and you notice that the driver is distracted, call them out on it. Tell the driver that you don’t feel safe when they are texting and driving and explain to them how dangerous it can be to drive distracted. Contact a Trusted Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you should contact an experienced Tampa Bay car accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been trusted by over 20,000 clients to help them pursue compensation for their injuries. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Top Causes of Florida Auto Accident Injuries

Category: Car Accidents |

According to a report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, as of November 25, 2018, there were 349,430 car crashes in 2018. As a result of these accidents, there were 221,723 reported injuries. That’s a staggering number but not surprising given the reputation of Florida drivers. Injuries sustained in an auto accident commonly include fractures, back and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. In Florida, the most common causes of these injuries include: Distracted Driving According to a 2017 study, Florida was the second-worst state in the nation for distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your focus off of the task at hand.  Distracted driving can result in drivers not seeing other vehicles, failing to notice stop signs and traffic signals, and drifting into other lanes of traffic. All of these situations can lead to serious injuries to other drivers. Drowsy Driving A driver who is drowsy is dangerous on the roadway because fatigue can impair the driver’s ability to make decisions, slow down thought process and reaction time, and affect judgment and vision. This can lead to drivers veering into other lanes, rear-end collisions and other serious accidents. Speeding Speed limits in Florida are put in place to help drivers get to their destinations safely. When drivers go above the speed limit, their chances of being involved in an accident are high. Speeding makes it more difficult to navigate turns and curves and can make it more difficult to react to hazards on the road. In addition, a high-speed car crash can lead to more severe injuries than a crash at normal speed. Bad Weather Wet roads and heavy rains are common in Florida. Bad weather and road conditions can cause a vehicle to react unpredictably. Drivers who don’t know how to handle a car in bad weather can cause serious accidents. Failing to Obey Traffic Signals Failing to come to a full stop at a stop sign or ignoring a traffic light can easily result in an intersection accident. Side-impact crashes are commonly the result of a failure to obey traffic signs and signals and can cause serious injuries to other drivers and passengers. Drunk Driving In Florida, if a driver has a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher or is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that driver is considered a drunk driver. Drunk drivers have a severely impaired ability to react to changing situations on the road and frequently drive at high speeds. This can result in tragic accidents with traumatic injuries. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Distracted Driving and In-vehicle Technology

Category: Accidents |

When you buy a new car now, it comes with all kinds of fascinating features. It is now estimated that within 5 years, approximately 90% of new vehicles will come with information and entertainment systems. Vehicle infotainment systems, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Toyota’s Entune system, can help you send text messages, make phone calls, check the weather, find a radio station, and operate the navigation system, all while you’re driving. But these new features can be dangerous for drivers. What is Distracted Driving? Distracted driving is driving your vehicle without devoting all of your focus to that task. A distracted driver is trying to do multiple things at once. They are driving and possibly talking to a passenger, eating, putting on makeup, disciplining children, or engaging with a car’s in-vehicle technology. Because these activities take away at least part of your focus, it becomes a dangerous situation for everyone on the road. Why is In-vehicle Technology Dangerous? The infotainment system in your car can be a tempting distraction. The automobile industry claims that these new systems are better and safer alternatives for drivers than mobile phone and navigation systems that were not designed for people to use while driving. However, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that the infotainment systems in new cars could distract drivers for over 40 seconds at a time. According to AAA, just looking away from the road for two seconds can almost double your chance of being involved in an accident. Programming the navigation system was the most time-intensive task, forcing drivers to take their eyes off the road for more than 40 seconds. In that amount of time, a car driving 25 miles per hour would travel the length of four football fields, all while mostly driving blind. Preventing Distracted Driving Researchers say that these infotainment systems can be made safer by following federal recommendations such as logging out texts, disabling social media, and not allowing the programming of the navigation system while the car is in motion. But there are also steps you can take to reduce your own distracted driving. There are clear steps you can take, like not programming your navigation system until your vehicle is parked. You can also place your phone in the glove compartment and make a choice not to sync it to the in-vehicle technology system. While this might not be realistic for all, there are other options to help you avoid the temptation of engaging with your car’s infotainment system, such as installing driving apps on your phone to prevent you from being distracted. Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Three Types of Distracted Driving Evidence Injury Lawyers Use in Car Accident Cases

Category: Car Accidents |

If you are like most drivers, you do everything that you can to keep yourself, your passengers, and your fellow drivers safe when you are on the road. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment of inattention for a distracted driver to make a mistake that can seriously hurt innocent people. When that happens, personal injury lawyers 0ften need to provide evidence showing what had distracted the at-fault driver at the time of the accident. The types of distracted driving evidence that a car accident lawyer may use varies depending on the nature of the case. Below are three of the more common types of evidence that an injury law team may look for. Distracted Driving Evidence at the Scene of the Accident In many cases, one or more individuals are able to have claimed that they witnessed a driver who was distracted while using a mobile device at the time of an accident. Injury victims themselves may have seen that the driver was clearly talking or texting on a device immediately before an accident. In other cases, witnesses, including individuals riding with the at-fault driver, come forward to confirm that the driver was distracted to the point of negligence. This is one of the reasons that it is so important to file a police report and obtain contact information from witnesses immediately after an accident. Proving Distracted Driving through Cell Phone Records Of course, injury victims have obtained meaningful evidence that a driver was distracted with a mobile device when they are at the scene of the accident itself. Instead, a personal injury lawyer can get the distracted driving evidence necessary to at least partially prove fault by obtaining the at-fault driver’s mobile phone records. In many cases, the most important information for a case in a negligent driver’s phone records include call logs, text messages, and time-stamped data usage from the day of the collision. Gathering Evidence from Event Data Recorders Many modern vehicles are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) that record various information that can be very helpful when investigating a collision. Some of the relevant information captured by EDRs include accelerator pedal position, vehicle speed, brake pedal position, and the change in velocity at the time of an accident. When it comes to a distracted driving investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that data captured by an EDR can help explain the action or lack of action a driver took in the events leading up to a collision. These records can be matched up with non-electronic evidence of distracted driving recorded by law enforcement or rescue personnel, such as makeup, reading materials, electronic devices, or other distracting materials found at the scene. In recent years, distractions like texting while driving have become an epidemic in Florida. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a distracted driving accident, our injury law team may be able to help. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today for a free case evaluation.

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How to Talk with Your Teen About Texting and Driving

Category: Car Accidents |

Did you know that your teen can drive the entire length of a football field in the amount of time it takes to read or send an average text? According to the CDC, that’s exactly how far we are effectively driving blind when we check our phones while driving at highway speeds. Safety experts continue to tell us that texting and driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, but it’s not easy to get that through the heads of teenage drivers when they are behind the wheel. That has to be a scary thought for any parent. But there’s just no getting away from the fact that relying on smartphones is a part of life these days. And that means that there’s a lethal source of distraction at arms reach every time our teens are behind the wheel. As a parent, it’s up to you to ensure that your teen knows just how dangerous texting and driving really is and how to avoid the temptation. And, like so many things with teenagers, the key to getting these messages into his or her head is repetition. With that in mind, we’ve put together the following tips for talking with your family about teen texting and driving. Have an intentional, authentic conversation about the topic. Don’t make the mistake of trying to cover this important issue in passing during a casual conversation. Find an appropriate time and space to speak with your family about distracted driving specifically. Prepare ahead of time by finding some facts and statistics you want to share, as well as clarifying what you need to discuss the most. Having a list of questions ready to work from that you’d like to review with your teen can also be helpful. Make shared commitments. Instead of dictating rules that only apply to your teen, we encourage you to make commitments together that you all agree to when it comes to distracted driving. This can include a commitment to hold each other accountable moving forward which invites your teens to remind you to hold up your end of the deal. Agree to signing a driver’s contract. The team at TeenSafe has put together a simple document for parents and teens to review and sign together that make these commitments feel much more tangible. In addition to agreements about distracted driving, this document also covers other driving safety commitments involving issues like road rage and what to do after an accident. Sadly, we know the devastating impact that a distracted driving accident can have on a family. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we’re committed to making our roads safer by encouraging drivers of all ages to stay focused on the road and get to their destinations safely. Unfortunately, distracted driving accidents continue to happen everyday every day, leaving car accident victims seriously injured and who may in need of our help. If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a car accident in Tampa, Clearwater, or the surrounding area, please call us today at 1-800-538-4878. Our car accident lawyers can provide you with a free evaluation of your case, and we may be able to stand up for your rights.

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces their July 2017 Distracted Driving essay winner

Category: Distracted Driving |

Tristen Sharp is 18 years old and resides in Bonnie, IL. She is enrolled in the pre-law program and in pursuit of a degree in Political Science at the Illinois State University, and once accepted into law school will aim for a Juris Doctorate in Law. Tristen has suffered not once but twice at the hands of negligent drivers, both accidents occurring within an 18-month period. Tristen’s remarkable story is detailed in her winning essay, submitted for the Abrahamson & Uiterwyk semi-annual scholarship program. We received hundreds of applications again and Tristen’s was chosen as the winning essay based on her overwhelming commitment to end distracted driving and the life-changing effects that accidents have on all those involved. Tristen submitted a video with her application, which can be viewed here. Well done to Tristen Sharp, and we congratulate you on being selected as the winning entrant and wish you all the best in your academic pursuits. Here is the winning essay: Distracted Driving and Plan Written By: Tristen Sharp On Wednesday evening, I met my mother at a local restaurant to eat dinner before heading off to church. Nothing was different, as my usual routine on Wednesday’s was always the same. After pulling into the church parking lot a little after 7:00 p.m., I placed my cell phone in hand and proceeded on to the crosswalk. As I looked both directions, I noticed a car approaching from my left. The car approaching stopped to make a left-hand turn and I looked both ways one last time before proceeding into the intersection. I have no other memory of the chain of events that took place after that moment because I was struck by a car coming from the opposite direction ( Home – WSIL). The injuries I sustained were critical with the most extreme being the injuries to my brain. My skull was removed in an attempt to save my life and I now lacked the memory to remember who I was. After extensive rehabilitation and re-learning many aspects of my life, I was now left with many unanswered questions. “Did I not look both ways before I crossed that street? Was I not paying attention? How could he not see me?” The emotional toll of these unanswered questions would test me to the core. As I searched for answers to these very questions, the answers slowly came to light. Witnesses advised that I did look both ways, twice! My cell phone company verified that there was no activity on my cell phone. “So, how did this happen?” My whole life was changed forever at age 16. Some would say this is the story of a lifetime and a place where this story should end. However, it’s not. June 11th, 2017 was just another typical day. My friend and I had decided to go get ice cream at one of our favorite places. This is the moment where I have no memory of the chain of events that would occur next. A driver crossed the center median of the interstate and struck us head on with no warning (Full Service). I was flown to a trauma center due to my injuries. Upon waking up from another medically induced coma, I would now be labeled again as the girl with another Traumatic Brain Injury. Distracted driving causes numerous accidents, injuries and often times fatalities throughout the world. Families lives are turned upside down and some never get the chance to return back to the life they previously lived. Law enforcement must become more proactive against all types of distracted driving and our criminal justice system must start imposing stiffer penalties for distracted driving in general. While I may not have been the driver involved in either accident, I am still a driver myself. I owe an equal obligation to everyone around me, that I, myself, do my best to insure the safety of others. It is extremely important to have discussions with your friends and family about the effects of distracted driving and ways to reduce the accidents caused by this. I have created a Distracted Driving Plan for other individuals to use in discussions with their family in hopes of protecting the loved ones of others. Oftentimes, we as individuals get so hung up in our busy lives that time gets away from us. We find ourselves thinking about multiple things while we are heading somewhere else. Little thought is given to the devastation that is caused by distracted driving. As a person living with the injuries sustained in an auto accident, I can assure you that the struggles I have had to overcome has been life changing. In a split second, you can easily become a victim, or a defendant. Distracted Driving Plan We will not operate a vehicle in an unsafe manner. We will obey all driving laws in the manner in which they are implemented for. We will further educate our friends and family about the effects of distracted driving. We will always look twice, and cross once to ensure our safety and the safety of others while operating a vehicle or as a pedestrian. We will not talk or text on a cell phone while driving. We will pay attention to our surroundings.

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces their January 2017 Distracted Driving essay winner

Category: Distracted Driving |

Melanie Mooney is a high school senior in Munster Indiana, who enjoys running in cross-country and track events. Melanie is also a member of her school’s Student Government, Speech, and HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) team, and plans to attend Purdue University West Lafayette, majoring in Biology with a goal of becoming a veterinarian. Melanie, along with hundreds of other applicants, were asked to create and submit a “Safety Contract”, together with an essay on Distracted Driving, an unfortunate consequence of our modern society. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk received a record number of submissions in our semi-annual scholarship contest, and choosing a winner was not easy! Congratulations from all of us at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk and best of luck in your academic pursuits! Here is the winning essay: Distracted Driving Essay and BE SMARTFamily Safety Plan Written By: Melanie Mooney “I’m a teenage girl. My BFF Becky texts me and says she’s kissed Johnny. Well, that’s a problem because I like Johnny. Now, I am emotionally compromising (swerve)…Whoops.” This quotation from Allstate’s Mayhem driving commercial presents a semi-comical scenario persuading customers to purchase Allstate Insurance; however, this commercial alludes to more than just the importance of having high-quality insurance. It presents a far more encompassing issue that nations all around the world face today: distracted driving.If one person was injured every second for approximately five consecutive days, it would be equivalent to the amount of people injured each year from distracted drivers. That is over 421,000 injured people each year, all stemming from distractions as small as changing the radio station from an overplayed song that just cannot be heard again, to larger circumstances, such as putting on makeup using the visor mirror above the driver’s seat. Distracted driving is defined as any action that diverts a driver’s focus from their driving responsibilities. These actions delve deeper than texting or talking on the phone, such as eating, changing a radio station or song, applying cosmetics, singing or dancing, taking layers of clothes off, browsing out the window, or dozing off to sleep. Although future generations will add to the list of physical driving distractions, it is important to note that there are several subconscious distractions as well. In an endlessly busy society, people can never fully isolate the task at hand without worrying about something else. Often times, I experience this driving distraction first hand. On my way to school, I find myself worrying about important exams that day, if I remembered to grab everything I need, and of course, the critical question of whether I would beat some traffic and arrive on time. I never used to realize myself doing this, and although I have never been in an accident because of it, I put myself at greater risk every time I do it. I know that these thoughts and worries certainly steal away my focus equally as much as a cell phone would; thus, in order to become a more focused driver, I will have to put off the worrying until I actually arrive at school. Once the causes of distracted driving are identified, avoiding the act should be the easy part. But in reality, it is something that is only mastered with practice. I believe the first step in truly ending distracted driving is realizing what one has to lose. Imagine how your life and others’ lives would be affected if you hurt yourself or another person. The second step is practice, whether it be putting your phone in the backseat to avoid using it, changing the radio only when the car is not in motion, or for me, waking up ten minutes earlier each morning to organize and plan my day in order to clear my mind of all distractions. The final step to avoid distracted driving is to know yourself. For example, if you pulled an all-nighter, your favorite pet just passed away, or you just found out your BFF Becky kissed your lifelong crush Johnny, save your life and those around you by containing your emotions and abstaining from driving until your mind is focused solely on your driving. Melanie’s BE SMART Distracted Driving Family Plan Physical distractions last at least three seconds, while mental distractions can last up to 27 seconds. I pledge to BE SMART and be distracted for 0 seconds.

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Scholarship Announces 2016 Distracted Driving Essay Contest Winner

Category: Distracted Driving |

Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, Florida personal injury attorneys, are proud to announce that R. Isaac Boulter, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the 2016 recipient of a $1500 scholarship for his essay on Distracted Driving.   Mr. Boulter is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Music program for piano performance as well as the Bachelor of Arts program for Russian Language and Culture at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He has hopes of becoming fluent in Russian language so that he can study in country. Isaac, along with nearly one hundred other applicants, were asked to write an essay on the topic of distracted driving. Our desire was to help students with their educational goals while also raising awareness about the important issue of distracted driving. Mr. Boulter wrote a very compelling essay that met, and exceeded, all of the criteria listed including statistics, personal accounts and thoughtful suggestions encouraging young people to avoid distracted driving. All essays were judged based on originality, style, grammar, and accuracy. Congratulations from all of us at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk and best of luck in your academic pursuits! Here is the winning essay: Risk Management Written by: R. Isaac Boulter  My girlfriend is an excellent driver. She has been driving for nearly five years; she started as early as possible. For her it was a vital source of independence, and much of her high school life centered around it: her job, to pay for gas; her social life, which depended on her mobility; and even school, to which she drove herself every day for two years. Now, in our first year of college, she drives herself from our home in Burnsville, North Carolina, to NC State University in Raleigh and back. She visits me at UNC Chapel Hill. She has spent a lot of time behind the wheel, and overall there are not a lot of people our age whom I know that are as experienced as she. My girlfriend also has a habit of driving while distracted. She is all too willing to check her phone, answer texts, put on music. When I express discomfort she points out that she is a very good driver, and that she does this all the time. Both of these statements are true, and she has never been in an accident… so why do I still feel a vague dread whenever her eyes leave the road for her screen? When I was thirteen, my family took a camping trip across the American Southwest, and among the many places we visited was Arches National Park. I took great pleasure in clambering over the red Utah rocks, much to the displeasure of my mother. As the day progressed so did my aspirations, and by the time we came to the Double Arch I was in full rock­climber mode. My mother heard me call for her to “look where I am!” and turned to see me many, many feet above the floor of the cavern, and her gasp, along with those of dozens of other tourists, let me know that I should most likely climb down. As we walked back to the car, I was sullen and embarrassed, and quite unwilling to hear Mom’s chastisement. As she walked on in exasperation, my dad caught up with me to try a different tack. He explained to me how scared Mom had been by seeing me up that high, because she was worried I might fall. I scoffed; it had been a really easy climb. The chances of my falling were minuscule. I was surprised to hear him agree, and then he said something to me that I never forgot. “It’s not that we doubt your ability to climb up those rocks, son. It’s just that the penalty for failure is so, so much higher.”  I’ve thought about that ever since; that the risk of something determines how willing one might be to do it, regardless of difficulty. Many of us have this risk management skill instinctually; our willingness to approach the pinnacle of a two­foot high wall is often much greater than our willingness to approach that of a thirty­foot one. The probability that you will fall is not increased by the height of the wall, but the consequences of falling from thirty feet are a great deal more final. Would a parent be so willing to let her children leap from couch to carpet to chair, if the floor were actually covered in boiling lava? Nothing has changed except the severity of what happens if the child missteps or mistimes a leap. I firmly believe this idea applies to other aspects of our lives where the results of our actions are less immediate in our conscience. A thirty­ foot fall is easily imagined when standing on the brink; a fatal accident when sitting behind the wheel, less so. The American Center for Disease Control states that “texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction[: visual, manual, and cognitive]”1, meaning that it takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off the task of driving. Even if you are usually able to multitask in that fashion, the penalty for the smallest mistake can be severe, even permanent. According to the Disaster Center’s Motor Vehicle Accident Death and Injury Data Index, “about half of property damage accidents result in injuries or fatalities.”2 About half. Nearly 50%. In essence, a coin toss. I wouldn’t like those odds for something trivial. For something as serious as life and death? There’s a chance that I might come out alive, even unscathed. But is it worth the risk?”

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5 Distracted Driving Myths that Simply Aren’t True

Category: Car Accidents |

Think you know everything there is to know about distracted driving? Check out these myths and we’ll see if that’s true: Myth #1: It’s legal. Actually, in an attempt to cut down on accidents, more municipalities are making laws against doing anything other than driving while you’re, well, driving! Myth #2: Everybody does it. Not so. Just because texting and driving accidents, for instance, are a prevalent problem doesn’t mean everyone engages in distracted driving behaviors. Be sure to take the proper precautions while on the road. This is not only to protect others, but you as well. Myth #3: A couple of seconds won’t hurt. You don’t have to be distracted for several minutes to cause an accident. A fraction of a second is all it takes for terrible, avoidable crashes to cause severe injuries – or destroy lives. Myth #4: You can safely multitask while driving. Despite the focus on multitasking in our present culture, many studies have shown that human beings are, in fact, very bad at it. Without your full concentration, you will likely perform simultaneous tasks poorly. And if there’s one task that demands and deserves your complete attention, it’s operating a 4,000-pound car. Myth #5: You can’t be held liable in an accident. In many states, distracted driving is considered a form of reckless driving, which can be prosecuted. But another thing to bear in mind is that prosecution is just the criminal side of it. You can also have a civil lawsuit brought against you for any harm you cause. You may end up paying for damages, injuries, or even a wrongful death. Make no mistake about it: distracted driving is a bad, bad idea. Don’t take the chance; put down your phone, makeup, or fast-food purchase and arrive at your destination safely. Talk to an experienced Clearwater car accident lawyer Were you injured because someone fell prey to these distracted driving myths? If so, our firm may be able to help.  Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-538-4878.  Call us today for a free evaluation.  

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Safety Tips for Elderly Drivers: Senior Citizens vs. Teenagers – A Study in Senior Driving Safety

Category: Car Accidents |

People are seniors at least twice in their life. People are “seniors” after their final year of education, and again in their mature years of life. Ironically, these two stages of life can represent very different stages of an individual’s driving career, with each respective stage involving very different concerns about driving capabilities. Comparing the Seniors (Citizens) and the Seniors (Teenagers) Unlike the cruising and hot-rodding teenager, senior citizen drivers bring a lifetime of driving experience and knowledge to the automobile table. Stability. Wisdom. Experience. Yet the other side of this coin involves physical and mental related changes that can also impact senior driving ability. The good news? There are several things senior citizens can do to heighten competence, awareness, and safety behind the wheel – and, perhaps to no one’s great surprise, it’s generally the opposite of what the other type of seniors (hereinafter referred to as “teenagers”) are doing! General Safe Senior Driving Tips Seniors: Avoid high traffic times, particularly the morning, lunch and evening commute shifts. Teens have time restrictions when they first start driving, primarily to avoid the nighttime hours. Seniors: Best to limit their trips to places closer to home. A great idea for seniors who typically travel to the same places, i.e., grocery store, church, pharmacy and friends’ homes. On the other hand, teenagers know no boundaries traveling everywhere on the search for, well, only they would know. Guidelines state that the standard distance between your vehicle and the car ahead is one car length per every 10 mph you’re traveling. (Example: 40 mph = follow four car lengths.) Increase this distance to compensate for slower reaction times, allowing ample space to brake safely or stop when necessary. Staying Alert Behind the Wheel Distractions are the cause or contributing factor in 25 to 50 percent of all collisions. Limit distracting noise inside the senior’s vehicle including radio, passenger conversation, and cellphone use. There is, however, not much we can do about teens who blast music so loudly that it is shared with the world – even when everyone’s windows are rolled up. Loss of hearing means a muting of all traffic sounds. Elderly drivers may experience this hearing decline due to physical aging; teenagers experience the loss with blaring music, cell phone talk and raucous passenger behavior. The latter group needs to compensate by turning everything down a notch or two. The elderly drivers can compensate with a hearing aid or through their vision – consciously watching in their rearview mirrors to check traffic flow while watching for the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Visibility Issues to Consider Nighttime driving means more limited visibility for all drivers. Rising age eventually impacts reaction times. With both these factors in play, it may be more prudent for seniors to avoid nighttime driving as much as possible. For teens, they’re typically getting ready to go out when the rest of us are coming in. Some elderly drivers lose a little height with age. Be sure your driver’s seat is raised high enough for as clear a view of the road as possible. Sit on a small pillow if necessary. The same process should be followed by teens who would need additional assistance to have a clear view over their dashboard. Fair weather or not, always having your headlights on can be a good move as it increases your visibility to others. Drive on familiar streets. If traveling to an uncommon destination, use a GPS that verbally gives you directions as you drive. Reading directions or reading a map is another unneeded distraction that can contribute to car accidents and collisions. Keeping your windshield, headlights and mirror clean are simple and easy ways to improve driver visibility – for all ages. Keep windshield wiper blades in proper working condition. Nearly all car manufacturers recommend replacement every six months, but given Florida’s climate and precipitation, Trico, an online wiper blade store, maintains that replacement every nine to twelve months is sufficient. However, driving habits can also affect this timeframe. Periodic vision and hearing screenings are always a good idea but become even more important the older we get. Changes in sight and hearing become more dramatic, so shorten the time in-between screenings to keep up with any necessary adjustments. Once a Florida senior reaches 80 years of age, licenses are renewed every 6 years with a mandatory vision test at the Department of Motor Vehicles office. Consider Using Public Transportation Public transportation is a wonderful thing. It’s there when seniors become unsure of their driving abilities; it’s there when teens don’t yet have a car. Regardless, there are options for folks to get around town and good circumstances to exercise these options. Utilize Car Safety Features Florida redefines what it means to be hot, tempting car owners to tint windows for deflection of the sun’s intense rays. It is suggested that elderly drivers who have vision problems should keep window tinting to a lighter shade or not tint at all. Teenagers darken the windows in their cars to follow the latest trend. Seniors: Drive a car with an automatic transmission, if possible. With automatic transmissions, fewer things to attend to equals greater focus and alertness on other aspects of senior driving. In most cases, many teens won’t know how to use a manual transmission. Always wear a seat belt. According to Florida seat belt laws, all passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt. Passengers in the back seat 18 and younger must wear a seat belt or otherwise be restraint by a child car seat. Drive Carefully in Inclement Weather The number of collisions goes up in inclement weather, which can be particularly treacherous for both seniors and teens. Whether rain, hail, snowstorms, ice or fog, poorer weather can greatly impair driver vision and hinder car performance. Throw in slower reaction times and driver inexperience, and it becomes safe to say that sometimes it’s just better to stay home to avoid hazardous conditions and courting disaster....

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Will the NHTSA’s Move to Mandate Connected Vehicle Technology to Reduce Clearwater Car Accidents?

Category: Car Accidents |

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that they are moving forward with establishing rules that will eventually require cars and light trucks to implement connected vehicle technology. What is connected vehicle technology? Connected vehicle technology allows vehicles to electronically connect to one another while they are on the road. This type of technology is designed to enable wireless communication between vehicles, as well as traffic infrastructure and personal devices. Some examples of the different types of connected vehicle technology that are being developed include: Safety applications that provide 360-degree awareness of obstacles and other hazards that drivers cannot see. Mobile applications that provide a connected travel environment using anonymous data from all of the connected vehicles that are using a traffic system at a given time. Informational applications that provide drivers with real-time data on traffic congestion and other important updates. What steps are the NHTSA taking toward implementing this technology? The NHTSA has announced what is known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning connected vehicle technology. This notice provides the public and the vehicle industry with the opportunity to provide input on how implementing this technology will be regulated. The notice coincides with the release of a research report on vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Will connected vehicle technology help reduce accidents? Although it will take time to be implemented, the Department of Transportation believes that connected vehicle technology will play a key role in creating safer roads in the years to come. This type of technology is hoped to significantly reduce highway crashes while providing traffic managers with the data they need to maintain road safety. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 Hours a Day / 7 Days a Week Have you been hurt in an accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence? Call the Clearwater car accident lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 for a free case evaluation and initial consultation.

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Speak With Your Family About Texting While Driving & Make a Distracted Driving Policy

Category: Car Accidents |

Most of us already know that distracted driving has become a big problem in the United States. What all too many of us fail to realize is how our own behaviors take our attention away from the road. Speaking with Your Family If you haven’t talked with your family about the dangers of texting while driving, perhaps it’s time that you should. Don’t assume that your loved ones are being safe and responsible out there. Make sure that they have the facts and know that texting while driving is unacceptable under any circumstances. Useful Tools The Utah Safety Council has put together a couple of tools that are particularly helpful for talking about this issue with your friends and family. Their distracted driving activity encourages loved ones to take an honest look at just how dangerous some of their current behaviors may be. The 5-minute safety talk is centered around a short presentation that promotes an open dialogue about distracted driving in general. Develop a Distracted Driving Policy Creating a distracted driving policy for your household is a great way to encourage everyone to recognize the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel and acting according. Consider taking some time to sit down with your loved ones to develop a commitment to staying focused behind the wheel that the entire family can stick to. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-538-4878! If you’ve been seriously injured by a negligent driver in our area, the Tampa personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk may be able to help. Call our injury law team now at 1-800-538-4878 to get started today.

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What are the Florida Highway Patrol’s Tips for Using a Cell Phone While Driving?

Category: Car Accidents |

Although Florida finally has a law in place that prohibits texting while driving, all too many drivers in our area make the mistake of using their phones irresponsibly when they are on the road. In an effort to reduce the rate of distracted driving accidents in our state, the Florida High Patrol has issued some driving safety tips designed to help drivers use their cell phones while driving responsibly. Make Driving Safety Your Top Priority Although being able to make emergency calls when you are on the go can be helpful in some circumstances, it’s your responsibility to treat driving safely as your number on priority. Simply put, do not take calls while you are on the road if it is going to distract you from driving safely. If you receive a routine phone call on your cell phone while driving, consider letting it ring and go to voicemail. In the event that you really need to take or make a call, pull over and stop as soon as possible. Keep Conversations as Short as Possible If you do need to use your phone while you are driving, avoid getting into a lengthy or prolonged conversation. Address the reason behind the call as quickly as possible so that you can end your call. Be sure to avoid emotional or stressful phone calls while you are driving as these conversations can make it difficult to stay focused on the road. Keep Your Attention on the Road Above all, keep your eyes on the road if you need to use your phone. Hands-free cell phone devices can be useful, but it is still up to you to remain focused. If you need to take notes or look up a phone number, pull over so that you can do so safely. Other Cell Phone Safety Tips Become familiar with your phone and its different features. Consider using a hands-free device. Don’t use your phone in heavy traffic, inclement weather or other hazardous conditions. Only use your phone while you’re driving when it is absolutely necessary Don’t Delay: Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Now at 1-800-538-4878! Have you been hurt in an accident in our area? Call the Clearwater personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 to find out how we may be able to help.

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Tampa Drivers: Get the Facts on Texting and Driving Before It’s Too Late

Category: Car Accidents |

While we all know that distracted driving has become a major problem in the United States, the actual toll that risky behaviors like texting and driving is having out there can be difficult to appreciate. How common is texting while driving? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 421,000 people were injured and 3,360 lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in 2012. Although distracted driving fatalities actually declined slightly compared to the previous year, injuries caused by distracted driving rose by about 9 percent. How dangerous is texting while driving? While there are plenty of helpful facts on texting and driving that Tampa drivers should know, the most important thing to understand is just how dangerous this behavior really is. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute breaks this down with some numbers that should make everyone realize just how dangerous texting while driving. It takes an average person about 4.6 seconds to read or send an average text. That’s more than enough time for a serious tragedy to occur. If you’re driving at 55 mph, your vehicle will travel the length of an entire football field while you’re distracted with your text. If something unexpected happens during that period, there’s a good chance that you won’t have enough time to respond appropriately and avoid an accident. Texting while driving vs drunk driving In fact, texting while driving is so dangerous that many are beginning to believe that it may be even more dangerous than drunk driving. Car and Driver Magazine conducted a study that showed distracted drivers who were texting while driving performed worse in a variety of areas in a controlled safety test compared to drivers who had been drinking. Others have claimed that drunk driving increase your risk of an accident by four times, while drivers who text while driving are as much as 23 times more likely to crash. If you’ve become a victim of the distracted driving, it might be time to speak with a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A moment of inattention behind the wheel can lead to a Tampa car accident that results in serious injuries and considerable expenses. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 to discuss your options with our injury law team.

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Surprising Texting and Driving Statistics that St Petersburg Parents Need to Know

Category: Car Accidents |

Recent texting and driving statistics have shown that distracted driving has become a major problem throughout the country, and St Petersburg is no exception. How many distracted drivers are on the road? Out of all of the statistics that have surfaced when it comes to distracted driving, few are as shocking as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s approximation of just how many distracted drivers there are out there. According to the NHTSA, roughly 660,000 drivers are using a smartphone or similar electronic device while they’re behind the wheel at any given moment of daylight in the United States. How dangerous is texting while driving? This figure becomes even more disconcerting once you understand just how dangerous distracted driving behaviors like texting while driving really are. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted research into how much of a driver’s attention is diverted from the road by texting. They found that the average driver is looking away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds every time a text message is read or sent. That’s enough time for a vehicle traveling at 55 mph to cross the distance of an entire football field. VTTI also found that a driver who is texting while driving may be as much as 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was responsible for 18 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2010, resulting in 3,092 fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in St Petersburg car accident, call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk now at 1-800-538-4878. Don’t delay. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk now for a complimentary evaluation of your case through a free consultation with our injury law team at 1-800-538-4878.

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New Distracted Driving Study Measures Distractions While Driving in Novel Way

Category: Car Accidents |

According to a distracted driving study commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving kills about nine Americans a day. The engineering company Emotiv and the Royal Automotive Club of Western Australia recently completed an interesting experiment in Australia with what’s known as the Attention Powered Car. This extraordinary vehicle only allows full power and speed when the driver is focusing all of his or her attention on the road. If the driver diverts any attention away from the road, the car slows down considerably. How Does that System Work? The researchers started with a Hyundai i40 wagon, which is not currently available in the U.S. They then connected an advanced headset designed to the driver’s head that measures electrical brain activity. The system monitors a driver’s concentration through the frontal lobe. Extremely Surprising Results Perhaps most impressive about this new system was its ability to learn and predict. As the test drivers proceeded through the experiment, the scanning system learned their brainwave patterns and pre-emptively slowed the car if the test subject even thought of doing something that would distract him or her. Real-World Application Although the system was never intended as a consumer product, it gets science in on the ground floor of preventing distracted driving. Right now, the device is slated to become an instructional tool, and driving instructors will be able to show students when their mind wanders. While researchers are working hard to find technological solutions to the distracted driving epidemic, it’s still up to drivers to stay safe behind the wheel. Drivers must remain diligent behind the wheel and avoid dangerous distractions like: Texting Surfing the web Talking without a hands-free device or speakerphone Concentrating on anything else when behind the wheel If you or someone you know has been injured by a distracted driver, a Tampa car accident attorney might be able to help. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today for a free consultation. Our phone number is 1-800-538-4878.  

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Texting While Driving Now Illegal for Florida Drivers in an Effort to Reduce Distracted Driving

Category: Car Accidents |

On May 28 Rick Scott, Florida’s Governor, signed a bill into law banning texting while driving that applies equally to computer tablets and mobile phones. Florida is the 41st state to enact such legislation. This law allows enforcement officers to use the driver’s mobile phone as evidence against them when texting contributes to a fatal vehicle collision. The purpose of this law is to ensure drivers are not distracted while operating a motor vehicle. Deadliest Months The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) points to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA statistics to show that summer is a dangerous time for teen drivers. Statistics show that of the ten deadliest days each year for teen drivers seven of these days fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Decide to Drive The AAOS and AAA are partnering to sponsor a Decide to Drive campaign. This campaign encourages drivers to focus on driving, keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The Decide to Drive site offers a Wreck-less Checklist that includes the following preventative tips: Before starting the car, put on sunglasses or other accessories, adjust seats, remove reading materials from reach, put on a seatbelt and review maps or enter addresses into navigation systems. If distractions occur while driving, stop the vehicle in a safe place and deal with the issue before continuing driving. Do not consume food while driving. Do not tend to personal grooming or change clothes while driving. Keep your eyes on the road. The new Florida law carries a fine of $30. The fine doubles and an additional three points against a driver’s license are assessed with each texting violations within five years. Licenses in Florida receive a 30 day suspension when 12 points are accrued in a year. If you or a loved one has been severely hurt by a distracted driver, our Tampa car accident attorneys may be able to help. When Florida residents need a Tampa car accident attorney, the law offices of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk may be able to provide needed legal advice. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk the first consultation and case evaluation is always free. Call today at 1-800-538-4878 for more information.

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Recent Pair of Distracted Driving Studies Reveals Extent of the Problem

Category: Car Accidents |

Two recent studies of distracted driving have revealed just how much of a problem this behavior has become. The first was a report from the National Safety Council revealing that the role of cell phone use in fatal collisions has been vastly under reported. According to the study, over half of all cell phone-related traffic fatalities may be going unreported. The second study was performed by the University of Michigan and underlined the fact that distracted driving is not something unique to teenagers. The emergency room study of 654 parents sought to determine distractions to drivers of child passengers. The results were compelling. Driving Children Under 12 Three out of four parents reported using a cell phone while transporting children under 12 years old. Responding to the need of a child and personal grooming or eating by the driver tied for a strong second place. Setting the Example The ramifications of engaging in distracted driving while transporting children is more subtle than the immediate risk to the child. Parents or other authority figures are observed closely by the child. Choosing to engage in risky driving practices is teaching those behaviors to the child. Such children may grow up to become teenage drivers who practice unsafe behaviors behind the wheel as well. Cell Phones and Beyond While no states have banned cell phone use while driving, some states have banned handheld cell phone usage. Many states such as Florida have enacted laws against texting while driving. Texting and cell phone use are not the only driving distraction according to the University of Michigan survey. Distractions listed included: Phone calls Attending to the needs of the child passenger (retrieving toys, feeding) Personal grooming Eating while driving Using a navigation system or map Adjusting a radio or inserting a CD Texting Call our injury law team today. We’ll fight for your rights! In 2011, distracted driving contributed to more than 3,000 deaths. Florida residents who are the victims of distracted drivers may wish to seek legal advice from a Tampa car crash lawyer. The law offices of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk offer a free first consultation and case evaluation to assist car accident victims. Call 1-800-538-4878 today for more information.

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Parents Find Stick Shift Vehicles May Reduce Teenage Distracted Driving

Category: Car Accidents |

When it comes to teen driving safety, there are more distractions than ever for the teenage driver thanks to the popularity of smart phones and other mobile devices. For some parents, one part of the answer to teenage distracted driving has been found in older form of technology: manual transmissions. Teenagers & Distracted Driving Accidents: A Lot to Think About Seattle, Washington’s KING 5 recently reported on the parents of a new teen driver who opted to buy a car with a manual transmission. Preventing distracted driving was the reason these parents made this decision. The need to multitask while driving a stick shift is something these parents felt would displace other distractions. Manual Focus Operating a clutch to drive leaves little time for distractions. Unless the driver stays focused on appropriate shifting and clutch action, the car will stop. At the same time, learning how to drive stick shift is an added benefit onto itself for some young drivers. The teenage driver can take pride in their skillful operation of a car with a standard transmission. Shifting Trend It is heartening that parents are taking steps to reduce distracted driving for their teenage drivers. Having new drivers start by learning to drive a car with a manual transmission teaches them to stay focused on driving. This automobile choice for their teenager’s first car is not unique to this Seattle couple. Jalopnik states that they have been promoting such a choice for years. Diminishing Distractions Finding a fun way to keep a teenager’s focus on safe driving can be difficult. With so many distractions available to the teen, learning to drive a manual transmission may seem to be counter intuitive. As it turns out, however, operating a manual transmission both adds to a young driver’s driving skills while making common distractions like texting while driving nearly impossible.. Call today and put our experienced injury law team to work for you! Statistics show that more than 3000 people died in 2011 because of distracted driving. If you’ve become a victim of distracted driving in an accident in our area, the Tampa car accident lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk may be able to help. Call today at 1-800-538-4878 or complete our contact form for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

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Are Phone-Related Distracted Driving Accident Fatalities Underreported?

Category: Car Accidents |

According to a new study by an advocacy group, the National Safety Council, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents are significantly underreported. This underreporting can create less incentive for lawmakers to take cell phone use seriously since the number of reported fatalities is likely well below the true number. Information about the Distracted Driving Accident Study Researchers reviewed 180 fatal motor vehicle accidents that occurred from 2009 to 2011. These accidents all involved one or more fatalities. The organization independently determined that these accidents involved the use of a cell phone because the driver admitted it, another caller confirmed the communication, and a passenger reported the driver’s use of the device or police discovered an unfinished text message on a phone near the crash site. Comparing the Findings to a Database The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains a Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is a national database that tracks fatal motor vehicle accidents. When researchers from the National Safety Council compared their findings with the NHTSA’s data, they found that the national database reported far fewer of these accidents involved cell phone use. According to the database, only 52 percent of the crashes that occurred in 2011 were related to cell phone use, 35 percent of the crashes in 2010 were reported as involving a cell phone and only 8 percent of crashes in 2009 indicated cell phone use as a contributing factor. Lack of Consistent Standards According to the safety council’s findings, only about half of the accidents were coded as distracted driving in the FARS database when drivers reported that they were using a cell phone during a crash. This may be due in part to the fact that reporting standards often vary from state to state and city to city. The report also found that there were large variations in the number of automotive crashes that were attributed to cell phone use throughout different states. Additionally, the National Safety Council’s president stated that there is a “significant disparity” between how law enforcement agencies report distracted driving in one jurisdiction to the next. Call Now and Put the Experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to Work for You! Due to the lack of consistency and the likely underreporting of distracted driving accidents, a car accident victim or his or her family may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney in Tampa. An attorney may be able to conduct his or her own investigation into the cause of the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automotive accident, call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 for a free consultation.

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Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents by Not Eating While Driving

Category: Car Accidents |

When most of us think of distracted driving, we think of talking on cell phones and texting. As the use of mobile devices become more ingrained in our daily lives, distracted driving has become an increasingly dangerous problem on our nation’s roadways. These devices are not, however, the only types of distractions that contribute to disaster behind the wheel. Eating Behind the Wheel Equals Distracted Driving Many people who decry texting while driving think nothing of eating behind the wheel. In today’s go-go-go society, time is at a premium. People on the run going from meeting to meeting or soccer game to hockey practice do not think they have the time to stop and eat. However, when both hands are not at the two and 10 positions on the wheel and both eyes are not focused exclusively on driving, eating drivers become almost as much of a menace as the texters. Facts and Figures about Eating and Driving Some people even eat full-course meals behind the wheel! A recent British survey found that motorists have eaten everything from Chinese noodles to lobster while driving. Fifteen percent of those surveyed admitting to being involved in an accident or near miss. What is the Most Dangerous Food? Coffee is the most dangerous because it is extremely hot. Two-thirds of those surveyed admitted drinking coffee or eating while driving. In fact, eight percent admitted to doing it between five and 10 times a week. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that, in the United States, eating while driving created a condition where an accident was 80 percent more likely than if the driver were not eating. Call Now & Put Our Experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyers to Work for You If you’ve been seriously hurt due to the negligence of a distracted driver, a Tampa car accident lawyer might be able to help. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878. We offer free initial consultations and case evaluations.

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