Everyone agrees that reckless drivers are a danger to other drivers on Florida roads and highways. But distracted drivers can be just as dangerous – especially those that engage in distracted driving on a regular basis. The worst offenders are those that use their smart phone to send text messages and check their emails while behind the wheel.
According to the NSC or National Safety Council, 23 percent of all crashes, or approximately 1.3 million auto accidents each year, can be attributed to cell phone usage while driving. Furthermore, the NSC found that distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in all automobile accidents. Even though drivers using cell phones look around while talking, they still fail to see up to 50 percent of the “information” in their surroundings. Additional driving distractions include eating in the car, talking with another passenger, driving with an unrestrained pet and focusing on a GPS device.
Hitting pedestrians, rear-ending a car that’s stopped and running into cars or other objects in parking lots are some of the common accidents for cell phone users when driving around town. Those accidents usually occur when the drivers look down at their device, then look up after it’s too late to stop. Unfortunately, when on the open road or interstate, serious injury and fatal accidents are common occurrences for distracted drivers.
The NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that close to 500,000 injuries and almost 5,500 fatalities resulted from crashes and collisions that involved a distracted driver in 2009. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that in Florida, 386 fatal accidents and 49,568 injury accidents on the roads and highways were blamed on careless drivers in the same year. No detailed information was reported on distracted drivers using cell phones or smart phones.
Florida is one of a few states that has no cell phone or texting laws, despite numerous and repeated attempts by legislators to pass one. The Florida Highway Patrol recognizes the dangers, however, and has ordered its troopers to stop using handheld cell phones, unless hands-free, while driving. In addition, several school systems in the state have imposed penalties on bus drivers for texting or using the cell phone when transporting students.
While Florida may not have a texting ban, texting drivers can still be held liable for not keeping a proper lookout and other motor vehicle violations if they are found to be the cause of a car accident.
We recognize the dangers imposed on Florida drivers by distracted drivers, and we believe it is time to join those advocates that are pushing for stricter texting laws in our state.
If you have been seriously injured in a traffic accident caused by a texting or distracted driver, contact an aggressive car accident attorney who has helped many injury victims recover from a serious automobile accident. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have more than three decades of legal experience representing people injured in car accidents and other personal injury claims.
Call 1-800-299-8878 to speak with a knowledgeable Florida motor vehicle accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.