In recent years, cell phones have become a major distraction for drivers. We are so used to being connected to others, that it seems odd if we are ever disconnected, even if for a short time. The ever-advancing technology in cars has only enhanced the ways we can access features such as text, talk, or even social media and email accounts. While these features are now standard and user friendly, research shows that engaging in these activities (texting or hands-free talk) while driving does increase the chance of an accident occurring. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) states that on July 1, 2019, Florida passed the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, which requires drivers to put their phones down while driving and focus on driving. Since Florida is a state widely known for an influx of people due to tourism and travel, people must be even more vigilant while driving.
DISTRACTED DRIVING STATISTICS
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018, while an estimated 400,000 people were injured in crashes which involved distracted drivers. According to a whitepaper on cognitive distraction from the National Safety Council (NSC- Cognitive Distraction White Paper), distracted drivers often experience what is referred to as “inattention blindness”, similar to tunnel vision. Estimates indicate that drivers using cell phones look but fail to see up to 50% of the information in their driving environment, meaning that they do aren’t processing everything they encounter on the road to effectively monitor their surroundings.
TEEN DISTRACTED DRIVING STATISTICS
According to the National Safety Council, half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. Parents can help protect new drivers by instituting rules regarding cell phone use, nighttime driving and the number of passengers they have while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors Teen Driver Safety Week each October.
FLORIDA DISTRACTED DRIVING STATISTICS
The National Safety Council reports that distracted driving continues to be a factor in 8% of crashes. According to the Sun-Sentinel (Sun Sentinel article- 5/17/2019), Florida will become one of the last states to make texting while driving a primary traffic offense. Gov. Rick DeSantis is quoted in the article as stating that “a recent study ranked Florida as the second-worst state for distracted driving”. DeSantis went on to state that “in 2016, Florida had nearly 50,000 accidents caused by distracted driving resulting in 233 deaths”. In Florida, April is distracted driving awareness month.
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2016, more than 50,000 accidents and 233 deaths were caused by distracted drivers in Florida. A 2017 survey placed Florida as the second-worst state in the nation in terms of distracted driving; Louisiana ranked as the worst.
While research on these topics is ongoing, distracted driving represents a serious threat to our safety. Despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing a bill this year to make texting and driving a primary traffic offense, it’s still common to see drivers distracted by all sorts of things (including cell phones). However, the upside is that drivers are becoming more educated on the issue of distracted driving and the threat it poses. While you cannot control how others drive, you can control how you drive.
- mind your surroundings;
- drive defensively; and
- avoid distractions while on the road.
In this way, we can all join the fight against distracted driving!
When a serious car accident occurs, it is best to contact Bauer Law Group, P.A., and one of our attorneys will discuss your personal injury legal needs with you.
Call our firm today at (321) 558-7000 or reach out online for a case evaluation.