How we use our roads has changed dramatically in recent decades. With the advent of the smartphone, we now have constant access to a wealth of information and entertainment at our fingertips. However, this also means that we’re more distracted than ever when behind the wheel. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that distracted driving played a role in 8 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States in 2020. That’s 3,142 deaths that could have been prevented if drivers had just been paying attention to the road. So, what are the main causes of accidents resulting from distracted driving in Florida? The article below sheds light on this disturbing behavior.
Cell Phone Use
One of the leading causes of distracted driving is using a cell phone. This can involve anything from making a call to sending a text message to checking social media. According to the Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were nearly 50,000 crashes in Florida in 2020 that were caused by drivers who were distracted by their cell phones. Several laws in Florida seek to prevent cell phone use while driving. For instance, it is illegal to text while driving. Penalties for using your phone while driving, include fines, and you could also get points on your license.
Talking to Passengers
Talking to passengers can be just as distracting as using a cell phone, as it takes your attention away from the road. Not many people realize how dangerous it can be to take your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds. If you must talk to passengers while driving, try to keep the conversation brief and focused on the task at hand, which is driving. And if you have young children in the car, make sure they are properly restrained in their seats, so you’re not distracted by them while driving.
Other common distractions include eating or drinking while driving, adjusting the radio or other controls in the vehicle, daydreaming, or looking at something other than the road, and taking your hands off the wheel to do something else, like fidgeting with a bracelet or taking off a garment. Generally, anything that steals your attention when driving is a distraction. Furthermore, any type of distraction can be extremely dangerous.
Common Injuries from Distracted Driving Incidents
The injuries that result from these accidents can vary depending on the severity. In some cases, the injuries may be minor, like cuts and bruises. But, in other cases, the injuries can be much more serious, like broken bones or traumatic brain injuries. And, in the most severe cases, they can even be fatal. According to the CDC, more than 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in the United States in 2019. More than 400,000 people were injured. Luckily, Florida has put in place several laws to help reduce the number of these accidents. For example, as we mentioned, it is illegal to text while driving. And, if you’re caught, you could be fined up to $500, or more.
In addition, Florida has a law that prohibits drivers from reading or writing text messages in active work zones. Florida statute §316.1925 prohibits all drivers from using handheld wireless communication devices in school zones and active work zones when workers are present.
Cell phone use, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, and other distractions can distract any driver and lead to accidents. If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving incident, it’s important to know that you have options. This includes filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver and can be achieved with legal assistance.