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Distracted Driving Statistics

In recent years, the stats depict a difficult picture of the consequences of carefree driving.

14% of all reported motor vehicle collisions in the United States involved distracted drivers.

Distracted driving is responsible for 15% of all injury crashes and 8% of all fatal crashes.

An estimated 400,000 people were injured and 2,841 were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

An estimated 400,000 people were injured and 2,841 were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

5% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes are reportedly distracted at the time of the crash.

Young drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 8% of the drivers involved in fatal distracted driving accidents. That’s the highest proportion of any age group.

Cell phone use is “directly attributed” to 13% of all fatal distracted driving crashes.

More than 26,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in the U.S. over a seven-year period.

Florida Distracted Driving Facts

The Sunshine State is certainly not immune to the devastation caused by distracted driving. The most current FLHSMV data indicates that distracted driving remains a serious threat to the public. Consider these facts:

  • Distracted driving deaths are at an all-time high in Florida, with a 12% increase in fatalities in just one year.

  • An average of 250 people were killed annually in distracted driving accidents in Florida during a recent five-year period.

  • In Hillsborough County alone, there were 3,486 distracted driving crashes in a single year.

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What Are the Most Common Types of Distracted Driving Accidents?

Inattention can cause all types of dangerous and potentially deadly accidents, such as:

Rear-end crashes

When the flow of traffic slows or comes to a stop, distracted drivers may rear-end vehicles ahead of them if they are tailgating or fail to brake in time. Rear-end collisions are especially common if a driver begins texting before coming to a complete stop.

Head-on collisions

Inattention can cause distracted drivers to veer into the path of oncoming traffic, causing head-on collisions.

Rollover accidents

Distracted drivers who turn at high speed or are forced to make a sudden evasive maneuver because they weren’t paying attention can tip their cars over onto their side, hood, or roof in a rollover crash.

T-bone wrecks

When drivers take their eyes off the road, they may end up running a red light, rolling through a stop sign, or plowing through an intersection without observing the proper right-of-way. This negligence can cause them to slam head-first into the side of other vehicles in T-bone accidents, often at full speed.

Multi-car pileups

An inattentive driver may overlook the debris or traffic backups caused by another accident in time to avoid them. They may collide with already wrecked vehicles or cars stopped in traffic with their minds focused on something other than the road.

Examples of Distractions

Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes, hands, or focus away from the task of driving is a distraction. Some of the most common distractions that lead to accidents include:

Texting while driving

Texting behind the wheel is widely considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving. It’s also illegal in Florida. Texting or typing on a mobile device while driving is a primary offense, which means motorists can be pulled over and fined for it.

Cell phone use

Talking on the phone is considered safer if drivers use hands-free devices. Yet many studies suggest even hands-free cell phone use is still a distraction because drivers focus more on their conversation than the road.

Passengers

Drivers who interact with children, pets, or other vehicle passengers while driving put themselves and others at risk, especially if they turn around or take their hands off the wheel to deal with them.

Personal grooming

It’s not unusual to spot motorists combing their hair, applying makeup, or even attempting wardrobe changes while driving in Florida.

Adjusting vehicle controls

Adjusting music, air conditioning, or GPS controls can easily take a driver’s attention away from the road long enough to cause an accident.

Rubbernecking

While drivers should pay attention to their surroundings, craning their necks to see a billboard or nearby traffic accident can lead them to cause crashes of their own.

Eating or drinking

Most people have had a meal behind the wheel. However, it’s not the best idea. A driver who is eating or drinking will be forced to take at least one hand off the wheel to do so. It’s also likely that a person consuming food or beverages will have to take their eyes off the road, even momentarily, to pick the items up or put them down. This activity is dangerous at any speed and could lead to a serious injury accident.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Four main types of distractions can affect drivers and cause distracted driving accidents, including:

Visual distractions

Any distraction that causes a driver to take their eyes off of the road is a visual distraction.

Manual distractions

Drivers who take their hands off the wheel to perform an activity engage in manual distractions.

Auditory distractions

An auditory distraction involves a loud sound that prevents a driver from hearing important noises on the road, such as horns or sirens from other vehicles. Common auditory distractions include loud conversations, music, and external work zone or tractor-trailer noise.

Cognitive distractions

Any distraction that takes a driver’s mind off of the road. Cognitive distractions can include cell phone messages, conversations with passengers, or even daydreaming.

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving because it combines three of the above types of distraction. Drivers who look at text messages behind the wheel are visually, manually, and cognitively distracted by the content on their phones.

  • The average text message diverts a driver’s attention from the road for roughly five seconds. This may not sound like much, but it’s long enough to drive the entire length of a football field while traveling at 55 miles per hour.

How Do You Recognize a Distracted Driver?

Always look for telltale signs of distracted driving when you’re on the road. Possible red flags include drivers who are:

Drifting considerably from the center of their lane:

If it looks like a driver can’t stay centered between the lanes, give them plenty of space.

Drifting into neighboring lanes of traffic:

Swerving may indicate that the driver’s hands or eyes (or both) are not looking at the road ahead.

Visibly preoccupied with cell phones, food, maps, or other objects:

If you don’t see a driver’s eyes on the road, you probably can’t trust them to see you.

Braking or speeding suddenly or inconsistently:

Drivers who don’t seem to be keeping up with the traffic flow are likely distracted and best avoided.

Lingering at stop signs or red lights:

If a driver doesn’t react once they have the right-of-way at an intersection, chances are they’re not focused on driving.

Wearing headphones:

It’s safe to assume that drivers listening to music or chatting over headphones are too distracted to drive safely.

Leaving blinkers on without turning or merging:

If a driver has been signaling their intent to turn or merge for a suspiciously long time, assume they’re distracted and give them a wide berth.

What Are the Consequences of Texting and Driving in Florida?

Two sections of the Florida statutes cover the use of wireless communication devices while driving:

Section 316.305:

Prohibits drivers in Florida from operating motor vehicles while manually typing or texting on a wireless communications device. It also grants Florida law enforcement officers the authority to stop motor vehicle drivers and issue citations for texting while driving.

Section 316.306:

Prohibits drivers in Florida from using handheld wireless communications devices in school zones or active work zones. This means drivers may not talk on the phone in these areas unless they use hands-free devices.

Section 316.305 and 316.306 also outline the legal penalties drivers may face for violating these laws:

  • First-time texting while driving offenders can be charged with non-moving traffic violations and face a minimum fine of $30, which does not include court costs or additional fees.
  • Drivers who are guilty of a second texting while driving offense within five years are charged with a moving traffic violation, a minimum fine of $60, and three points against their driver’s licenses.
  • Drivers who are guilty of using a handheld wireless communications device in a school zone or active work zone are charged with a moving traffic violation, a base fine of $60, and three points against their licenses.

What Should I Do If I Am in an Accident With a Distracted Driver?

Unlike a breath or blood test for a drunk driver, there’s no physical test that can immediately prove that a driver was distracted at the time of a crash — unless they directly admit it. However, there are ways to collect evidence to build a strong case for compensation. Here’s how:

Talk to a Florida distracted driving accident lawyer.

An attorney will help you seek maximum no-fault benefits through your own insurance company and determine whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Follow your doctor’s orders.

Stick with your treatment and rehabilitation plan. The insurance company will use any lapse on your part as a reason to dismiss or deny your claim for compensation.

Keep a daily journal.

Document your memories of the wreck, your pain levels, and how your injuries impact your life.

Maintain records of all receipts and bills.

You can demand reimbursement for accident-related expenses.

Avoid discussing the accident on social media.

Public statements or photos about your accident or injuries could unintentionally jeopardize your case.

Get Help From a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in Florida

If you were involved in a Florida distracted driving accident, get in touch with the compassionate team of advocates at Brooks Law Group today. Our dedication to effective representation and outstanding client service has allowed us to recover millions of dollars in compensation over the years. Put our experience to work for you.

Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

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