Improvement and expansion of technology has increased the risk of distracted driving on the roads of Florida. It has also, however, introduced important safety features with vast potential for reducing accident rates.
Drivers must still exercise caution and good judgment in order to respond appropriately to hazards and traffic conditions on the roadway. If not, they can be found negligent, which can result in a finding of legal responsibility to pay for injuries and financial losses which were caused by the accident.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means one can only pursue claims against negligent drivers if they meet the statutory conditions for serious injury. Personal injury protection benefits (PIP) should be available to cover up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages, no matter who was at-fault.
Consult with a West Palm Beach auto accident attorney as soon as possible after any type of auto accident to determine whether you have a viable case.
Different Types of Features to Meet a Driver’s Needs
There are many different safety features fast becoming standard in new vehicles. Drivers can select those features best suited to their needs and can often customize settings on these features to further personalize their functionality. Collision alert and automatic emergency braking are among the most popular of new features. These features work together to help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, bicycle riders, and objects in the roadway.
Many of these systems contain settings which allow the driver to determine when he or she wishes to receive the collision warning. For example, KTBS/ ABC 3 reports on a GMC setting which allowed for alerts at either one, two or three vehicle lengths ahead of a potential collision.
Similarly, lane departure warnings allow a driver to correct drifting before an accident occurs. Vehicles with this feature read data provided by cameras behind the vehicle mirrors. The vehicle monitors and assesses this data to alert the driver to any corrections which are needed. Warnings can be provided either on the dashboard or through vibrations in the driver’s seat. Other features are also available to assist drivers with parking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic.
Drivers’ Legal Obligations and Duty of Care
Regardless of which safety features a vehicle is equipped with, drivers still have a legal duty of care. Each driver is expected to match the actions of the reasonably prudent driver in similar conditions. If a driver doesn't slow down when needed, fails to yield the right of way, runs a red light, or commits other traffic infractions, he or she is still subject to fines and penalties. That driver may also be found negligent by an insurance company or jury. Negligent drivers, also sometimes referred to as “at fault” drivers, are responsible for compensating injury victims for all financial losses they sustain in a car accident. This can include medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other financial loss which was the direct result of the accident caused by the other driver’s negligence.
The fact that a driver was using safety features, or had them installed in his or her vehicle, is not sufficient to meet the duty of care. Drivers will still be found negligent for traffic infractions or negligent driving behaviors. A West Palm Beach auto accident attorney can help injury victims determine who is legally responsible for causing their injuries, file claims for compensation, and determine whether to file a lawsuit.