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Clearwater Technology Distracts Drivers

April was Distracted Driver Awareness Month and it is even more important now than ever to understand how technology affects drivers. Kelley Blue Book, a vehicle valuation and information source that is trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automobile industry, released the results of a survey that was conducted to gather information from drivers. The survey questioned participant’s knowledge and assumptions on driving and technology. Distracted driving beat out impaired drivers on the road at 75 percent of respondents followed by road rage at just over half of respondents and weather conditions at 35 percent of respondents citing it as one of the biggest safety concerns impacting today’s drivers.

While “mobile phone technology offers enhanced convenience and connectivity for consumers, it is increasingly a source of distraction on the road,” said Arthur Henry, senior manager of Strategic Insights for Kelley Blue Book. “In fact, consumers believe drivers who use cell phones are a more significant safety concern than drunk drivers, road rage or weather conditions [1].

Even though many states have laws that condone texting and driving, along with talking on the cell phone and driving, 97 percent of consumers say that distracted drivers who text or talk and drive are one of the biggest safety concerns impacting motorists. Of the people surveyed, 91 percent are aware of current local laws pertaining to texting while driving. Continually, another highlight showed that approximately 81 percent of respondents believe Millennials between the ages of 19-34 text most often of all age groups.

Some other key highlights from Kelley Blue Book’s Texting and Driving Survey include:

  • On average, total respondents think 41 percent of drivers test while driving.
  • 66 percent of all respondents indicate that of all age groups, 19-25 year olds text most often while driving, followed by 26-34 year olds and 15-18 year olds, respectively, at 15 percent each.
  • 20 percent of total respondents report texting while driving, while 55 percent of Millennials (participants between the ages of 18-34) indicate texting while driving.
    • 62 percent of total respondents report texting while at a standstill, 2 percent while in motion and 36 percent both at a standstill and while in motion.
    • Just 45 percent of Millennials admit that their ability to drive is compromised when texting while driving, compared to 59 percent of total respondents.
    • Nearly half (47 percent) of total respondents say they text while driving because they “fell it can’t wait.”
    • 75 percent of total respondents feel guilty and/or worried when they text and drive. Only 60 and 64 percent of Millennials, respectively, fell the same.
    • 76 percent of total respondents believe “technology that will make it safer/easier to communication while in a vehicle, “such as voice-to-text or text-to-speech, would make them abstain from texting while driving. 27 percent said it would take them getting into a car accident to make them stop text and driving or talking on the phone and driving.
    • 50 percent of Millennials report themselves or someone they know personally almost getting into an accident as a result of being on a cell phone, compared to just 28 percent of total respondents.
  • Of all respondents with children between the ages of 15-18 living in their household that currently drive:
    • 30 percent know or suspect their children of engaging in texting while driving.
    • 42 percent know or suspect their children of talking on a cell phone (not using a hands-free method) [2].

Florida And Texting While Driving

In October of 2013, Florida enacted a limited ban on text messaging while driving; however this law posts no limitations on cell phone use. The law states:

“A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonverbal interpersonal communication, included, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing and instant messaging.”

What does all that mean? Drivers in Florida cannot type into a virtual keyboard or send or read messages. However, this would never result in a stop. Drivers cannot be stopped by an officer assuming there is texting going on. Florida’s texting law is considered a secondary law [3].

Secondary Law Explanation

An officer can pull the driver over and issue a ticket if the officer has witnessed some other violation. Violation of law is punished as a nonmoving violation. If a crash occurs because of a moving violation and texting is involved, the driver will be penalized 6 pts. For example: If a driver is using a cell phone by texting or calling someone and rolls a stop sign because of the distraction, the rules of the road apply to the driver, plus the addition violation of texting. With that being said, if drivers do not cause any violations, there would be no reason for an officer to issue a traffic stop.

Dolman Law Group

The National Safety Commission reviewed 180 fatal crashes that occurred from 2009 to 2011 where evidence indicated a driver was using a cell phone and came up with some shocking results. Only 52% of the fatal crashes were coded in FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) as involving cell phones. Therefore about half was not recorded as a crash factor. There is strong evidence to support that under-reporting of driver cell phone use in crashes is resulting in a substantial under-estimation of the magnitude of this public safety threat [4].

If you must use a cell phone while driving try to avoid doing so during hazardous driving conditions. Get to know how to use your phone and its special features. Try and purchase a hands-device if possible. Make sure your phone is easy to reach and do your best to reserve phone usage for emergencies and urgent calls. With all of these safety measures in mine, the law still allows others to use their phones. Moreover, if you are injured due to a distracted driver due to cell phone negligence, the attorneys at Dolman Law Group can handle the situation. Call (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/distracted-driver-attorneys/

References:

[1] http://southfloridareporter.com/survey-distracted-drivers-worse-threat-than-drunk-drivers-23128/
[2] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ninety-seven-percent-of-consumers-think-distracted-drivers-are-a-top-safety-concern-today-according-to-new-kelley-blue-book-survey-300162751.html
[3] http://www.drivinglaws.org/florida.php
[4] http://www.nsc.org/DistractedDrivingDocuments/NSC-Under-Reporting-White-Paper.pdf