- In Florida, distracted driving can cause devastating accidents that lead to horrible injuries and tragedies.
- While the most common distraction is smartphone use, several other distractions are just as dangerous.
- State law clearly defines the penalties for texting and driving in Florida.
- Several injuries occur due to distracted driving accidents. Many of them are catastrophic.
- A skilled attorney can help you obtain maximum compensation if you suffer an injury in an accident caused by another party’s distracted driving.
Everyone has a smartphone, but some of us can’t put it down. While behind the wheel, they’ll check texts and emails and have extended conversations. This, of course, increases the chances of an accident. But in Florida, distracted driving isn’t limited to phone use.
People will eat and drink or drive when they’re too sick to keep their focus on the road. Not only does distracted driving endanger other drivers, but it also puts pedestrians and others using the road at risk. Check out these Florida distracted driving statistics to learn more.
The attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm are experts in Florida law regarding texting and driving in Florida and other types of distractions. We’ll be ready to use that knowledge on your behalf if a distracted driver hits your vehicle and causes a severe injury. You can call 772-CALL-JON or contact us online for a free evaluation of your case.
Types of Distracted Driving & How They Cause Accidents
Florida’s distracted driving is a significant cause of tragic accidents. It encompasses various behaviors that divert a driver’s attention from the road. Here are just a few of the many types of distractions that occur.
Texting and Driving in Florida
Texting and using smartphones while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distraction. It involves looking at the phone’s screen, typing messages, or browsing social media, all of which take a driver’s eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Talking on the Phone
Conversations on a handheld or hands-free phone can take a driver’s mind off of what’s most important – safely getting to their destination. While hands-free options reduce manual distraction, cognitive distraction can still impair a driver’s ability to focus on the road.
Using GPS Devices or Adjusting Music or Radio
Programming a GPS or navigation system while driving can also divert attention from the road. Drivers may need to glance at the device’s screen, leading to visual distraction. Changing radio stations, adjusting volume, or selecting music tracks takes a driver’s hands off the wheel and attention away from the road.
Cognitive distractions, like daydreaming or letting one’s mind wander, are more subtle but equally hazardous. When drivers are lost in thought, they may react slowly to changing traffic conditions.
Florida is One of the Worst States for Distracted Driving
Florida has seen a substantial increase in distracted driving incidents in recent years, and the problem continues to be a significant concern for drivers and law enforcement officials.
Several factors contribute to the high incidence of distracted driving in Florida, including a high population density, a growing number of visitors and tourists, and a relatively mild climate allowing year-round driving.
Although distracted driving is a significant problem across the country, the issue is even more pronounced in Florida. According to one study, Florida ranks No. 10 on the list of the worst states for deaths attributed to distraction-related car wrecks.
Distracted Driving Accidents are on the Rise Across Florida
Distracted driving accidents have risen in Florida and the country in recent years. The increasing use of technology and the widespread availability of smartphones have contributed to the rise in distracted driving incidents.
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 333 distracted driving fatalities in 2021. This was the highest total in our state in the previous eight years. More than 1,000 distraction-related crashes occur every week.
Texting is the Most Dangerous Distraction
Motorists and truck drivers text while behind the wheel far too often. Texting is the most dangerous type of distracted driving because it involves several types of distractions at once:
- Visual distraction: Taking your eyes off the road to look at a phone.
- Manual distraction: Texting and driving in Florida involves typing or holding a phone while trying to control the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distraction: Focusing on the text instead of the road.
This multi-tasking while driving significantly impairs a driver’s ability to react to changing road conditions and increases the crash risk. Texting while driving also takes a driver’s attention away from the road for an extended period, increasing the risk of a crash even further.
Texting and Driving in Florida: Laws and Regulations
In Florida, it’s illegal to text while driving. Drivers can’t manually type or enter multiple characters as a means of non-voice communication with a wireless device.
Violating Florida’s texting and driving laws can result in fines and penalties. For a first offense, the fine is $30 as well as court fees. Subsequent offenses within five years can lead to higher fines and potential points on the driver’s license.
Teen Drivers are the Most At-Risk
Teen drivers are at the highest risk for distracted driving for several reasons, including:
- Inexperience: Teen drivers are still developing their driving skills and need more experience on the road, making them more susceptible to distractions.
- Peer pressure: Teens often feel pressure from their friends to engage in risky behaviors, such as texting while driving.
- Immaturity: Teenagers may believe they’re invincible and less likely to be involved in an accident, making them more likely to drive distracted.
- Overconfidence: Younger drivers may be overconfident in their abilities and underestimate the dangers of distracted driving.
- Increased use of technology: With the widespread use of smartphones and other technology, teens are more likely to be tempted to use these devices while driving.
There are More Than 50,000 Distracted Driving Cases a Year in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, more than 50,000 distraction-related accidents occur yearly in our state. Drivers must know the dangers and minimize distractions while on the road.
It’s important to note that distracted driving isn’t limited to texting while driving in Florida. It can include any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, such as eating, using navigation systems, adjusting the radio, or talking on a cell phone.
Distracted Driving Can Result in Severe Injuries and Even Death
When drivers are distracted, their reaction time slows down, and they may miss essential traffic signals, road signs, or changes in road conditions. A lack of focus can lead to crashes, collisions, and other incidents that can cause serious injuries or fatalities.
In addition to physical harm, distracted driving can also result in significant financial and emotional tolls on victims and their families. The aftermath of a distracted driving crash can impact an individual’s life for years to come.
Common Injuries Associated with Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving accidents can lead to a range of common injuries. These include the following:
- Whiplash often results from rear-end collisions, which can cause neck and back pain.
- Head injuries, such as concussions, may occur when airbags deploy or when drivers or passengers strike their heads during an accident.
- Broken bones and fractures are also typical, especially in high-impact collisions.
- Additionally, soft tissue injuries, cuts, and bruises can result from impacts on vehicle components or objects inside the vehicle.
- Severe accidents can lead to more critical injuries, like spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, or even fatalities.
What Should You Do If You’re Hit By a Distracted Driver?
If you are involved in an accident with a distracted driver, it’s crucial to take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention: If you’re injured, see a doctor immediately. Even if your injuries appear minor, getting a medical exam as soon as possible is essential to your health and case.
- Call the police: Report the accident to the police and have them write a report. This will provide an official record of the accident and can be helpful in any future insurance or legal claims.
- Collect evidence: Take photos of the scene and any vehicle damage, if possible. Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver, and get the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of any witnesses.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Tell your insurer about the wreck as quickly as possible. They’ll guide you on the next steps and may help negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company.
- Consult a personal injury attorney: Speak with a personal injury attorney so they can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Taking these steps as soon as possible after the accident is essential to ensure that you receive medical care and protect your rights and interests. Also, don’t make any statements that could be used against you in a potential legal case.
Receiving Compensation in a Distracted Driving Case
In a distracted driving case, compensation for victims typically comes through insurance claims or legal action. To receive compensation, gather evidence to establish the distracted driver’s liability. This can include witness statements, accident reports, and medical records. Contact your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurer to initiate the claims process.
Also, consult a personal injury attorney to help navigate the legal aspects and negotiate on your behalf. Compensation may cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The amount can vary based on the severity of injuries, insurance policies, and other factors related to the case.
Contact The Eberst Law Firm ASAP to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
Frequently Asked Questions
Is texting and driving illegal in Florida?
Yes, texting and driving in Florida is illegal. Florida has implemented laws that prohibit texting while driving. Drivers are not allowed to manually type or enter multiple characters as a form of non-voice communication with a wireless device.
How can I prove that the at-fault party was distracted?
Collecting evidence such as witness statements, photos or videos of the accident scene, phone records, and police reports can help demonstrate distraction.
Is Florida safe for drivers?
Our state has a negative reputation regarding safety. Factors that affect safety in Florida include high tourism, challenging traffic conditions in urban areas, thunderstorms, and others. Like any state, Florida’s distracted driving is also a significant safety problem.