St. Petersburg Distracted Driving – When The Distraction Is NOT Your Smartphone

June 23, 2016 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
St. Petersburg Distracted Driving – When The Distraction Is NOT Your Smartphone The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that as of April 30, 2016, there were 122,399 auto collisions in the state of Florida involving 79,467 injuries and 852 fatalities.  In Pinellas County alone there were 5,836 accidents[1] involving 3,399 injuries and 28 fatalities during that same time period.   While it is unclear exactly how many of those Florida collisions were caused by distracted driving,[2] provides that in 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Other Types of Distractions Of the more than 65,000 people killed in car crashes over the past two years, one in 10 crashes involved at least one distracted driver, according to police report data analyzed by Erie Insurance in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Erie Insurance consulted with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety[3] in its analysis, which pulled data from 2010 and 2011 police reports. Traffic safety experts classify distractions[4] into three main types: Manual, visual and cognitive.
  • Manual Distractions: Manual distractions are those where you move your hands away from the task of controlling the vehicle. Reaching for a soda in the drink carrier is an example of a manual distraction.
  • Visual Distractions: Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road. You drop your soda and when it spills all over the floor of the car, you look down at your ruined shoes and stained slacks causing a visual distraction.
  • Cognitive Distractions: A cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving. You start to consider your shopping list or the things that you need to do at work and you are no longer paying attention to the essential job of driving.
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. Many types of distractions do not include cell phones including:
  • Smoking: When reviewing law enforcement officers' notes in crash reports involving at least one fatality, 1 percent cited smoking, including gestures related to lighting up and putting ashes in the car's tray.
  • Using Car Devices: Virtually any activity that can take your eyes off the road for even a split-second can put the driver and others in jeopardy. Seemingly innocent behaviors, such as adjusting rear view mirrors, seats, or using an OEM navigation system accounts for 1 percent of fatal distractions.
  • Adjusting Audio or Climate Controls: Two percent of distracted drivers admitted that switching radio stations or adjusting the stereo volume or vehicle temperature led to a fatal mistake.
  • Eating and Drinking: Before nearly everyone owned a smartphone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration[3] found that four in five auto accidents were caused by people eating while driving.
  • Other Occupants: Talking with or looking at other people in the car can cause a distraction leading to a St. Petersburg collision. Friends made bad company for 5 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.
  • Outside Person, Object or Event: Although it may be tempting to look at the scenery or a collision on the side of the road, 7 percent of fatal distracted accidents occurred when the driver failed to keep their eyes on the road.
  • Generally Distracted or “Lost in Thought”: Driving "in a fog" or seemingly on autopilot is risky. According to insurance investigations, daydreamers accounted for 62 percent of distracted drivers involved in road fatalities.
Call a St. Petersburg Vehicle Crash Attorney If you were involved in an auto collision, it is necessary to speak to a St. Petersburg auto accident attorney as soon as possible regardless of the extent of your injuries.  The attorneys at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are experienced St. Petersburg auto collision lawyers who are prepared to review your case today and to assist you with that process to make certain that you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.  Please call our office at (727) 472-3909. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 1663 1st Ave S. St. Petersburg, FL 33712 (727) 472-3909 References: [1] [2] Distracted Driving [3] [4] [5]


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

Learn More