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Distracted Driving and How It Can Affect Your Case

Distracted Driving in Florida

In today’s day and age, everyone has a cell phone. We use it to text, call, email and even video chat with our friends and loved ones. Most of us would not know what to do if we didn’t have our cell phone next to us at all times. But sometimes that can be a very bad idea, especially when operating a vehicle. All it takes is for a driver of a vehicle to look at their phone once while driving at the wrong time. That brief period of distraction could be the difference between getting where you are going or putting someone in the hospital. A total of 50,000 crashes last year in Florida were blamed on distracted driving, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.[1] Statistics like that demonstrate why it is such an important issue.

What is distracted driving?

Per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are three categories of distracted driving. These categories can be separated into visual, manual and cognitive.[2] Visual distraction occurs when you are driving and you take your eyes off the road.[3]  Manual distraction occurs when something happens in your vehicle which causes you to remove your hands from the wheel.[4] The third kind of distraction, known as cognitive distraction, occurs when your mind is thinking about something other than driving.[5] Each and every one of these distractions can easily result in an accident.

As for what specific activities usually result in distracted driving, there are many. Most people think about distracted driving and immediately think that texting is the only way to be distracted while driving. That could not be further from the truth. In fact, the Department of Highway Safety lists the following as other common distractions: tending to kids or passengers in the back seat, eating, watching an event outside of the vehicle, interacting with passengers, unsecured pets, putting on makeup or grooming, adjusting radio or climate controls, checking your GPS app or system and even daydreaming.[6]

How serious is distracted driving?

It should go without saying that any time you take your eyes off the road, there is a chance that an accident could occur. Most people do not understand how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road for even a split second. According to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, text messaging causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a six-second interval.[7] That means at 55 miles per hour, a texting driver would travel the length of a football field without looking at the road.[8] When you think about it, anything could happen during that period of time. A football field is a pretty long distance.

What is being done to end distracted driving?

While it is impossible for the State of Florida to monitor each and every driver while they are in their car to ensure that they do not text and drive, Florida has taken other steps to try and eliminate the issue. Per the Florida Department of Transportation, they are committed to eliminating crashes that are attributable to distracted driving and have developed the “Put it Down” campaign which focuses on helping drivers:

  • Understand why distracted driving is such an issue
  • Recognize what can happen if you drive distracted
  • Put steps in place to reduce or even eliminate distracted driving
  • To keep themselves, other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe on our roadways
  • Understand the laws in Florida when it comes to distracted driving[9]

In addition, Florida has established zones where drivers can pull over to use their cellphone if they need to respond right away and cannot wait until they reach their destination. Specifically, as part of a national effort to encourage drivers to pull into a safe location to use their phone for calling, texting and accessing mobile apps, Florida has designated 64 Rest Areas, Welcome Centers and Turnpike Service Plazas throughout the state as Safe Phone Zones, more than any other state.[10]

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

A distracted driver can cause an accident in an instant. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, do not hesitate to call the Dolman Law Group. The knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group will be able to evaluate your case, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and streamline the litigation process for you. Our skilled lawyers are not afraid to take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to place a favorable settlement offer on the table.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Florida personal injury lawyer, please call us or contact us online.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 3 ways:

  • Call Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900
  • Complete this online contact form
  • Click the Live Chat button in the bottom right corner of this page

Sources:

[1] http://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/50000-florida-crashes-in-2016-involved-distracted-driving/511202641

[2][3][4][5][6] https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/distracted-driving/

 

[7][8] http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/42/1/28.full

[9][10] http://www.fdot.gov/safety/2A-Programs/Distracted-Driving.shtm