Why distracted driving is dangerous and how it’s plaguing Florida roads
Distracted driving has become one of the most prominent issues in recent years when it comes to driver safety. While distracted driving is not necessarily a new concept, the common practice of texting while driving has brought the problem to the discussion floor in nearly every legislative assembly in the nation, including the state of Florida.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly 4,000 people were killed in 2015 alone in distracted driving accidents across the US. As many as 18% of all auto accidents are due to distracted driving.
In flat states like Florida with few hills and many straight roadways, many motorists take operating a vehicle for granted and regularly multitask while driving. These bad driving habits lead to an increase in car accidents often caused by the very distraction the driver is utilizing.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel. There are a number of activities that cause drivers to become distracted, but the use of cell phones is at the top of the list. This is the main cause of distracted driving accidents for those in the 16 to 24 year old age bracket. Parents should discuss the dangers of both with their teenagers.
Teen drivers aren’t the only people susceptible to driving distractions, though.
Adults and teens alike become most distracted by using cell phones that aren’t hands-free. When a driver looks down at the phone to dial a number or read a text message, the driver’s eyes are off the road or their hands are off the wheel. Even a momentary distraction can be extremely dangerous.
Other types of distraction include looking in the backseat to see what children or pets are doing as well as just looking over to talk to others that are in the car. Many become distracted by changing the radio station on the car radio or playing with the GPS.
Distracted driving is seen as negligence in the eyes of the law, especially when it results in serious injury due to any material case fact ranging from cell phone use to drinking coffee while driving.
Here are the main dangers associated with distracted driving:
One primary problem associated with distracted driving accidents is delayed response time to conditions and situations on the highway, especially when traveling at a high rate of speed. Any action that takes the driver’s mind off the task of safely operating their vehicle can impact cognitive decision-making skills, including worrying about life’s stresses while driving.
In order to cut down on the number of accidents due to distraction from cell phone usage, many states have enacted laws to prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. Only hands-free units are allowed. However, some people will still be mentally distracted just from talking on their phone.
Even something as simple as listening to the radio while driving can be problematic, but other conditions such as loud passengers or passengers viewing mobile video devices can be a distraction as well.
Reducing cognitive distraction and promoting focus in the vehicle is always a recommended safe driving practice.
Anything occurring in the vehicle that requires the driver to look away from the highway could potentially cause an accident. While use of a mobile device is at the top of the list, even having to discipline children while driving can lead to trouble. Tinkering with GPS devices is another visual distraction.
Eating and drinking while driving can also require a driver to look away from the highway when something is dropped or spilled, especially something like hot coffee.
It is vital that a driver has both hands on the wheel at all times, as well as both eyes on the road. When radios were first installed in vehicles, there was significant controversy over whether it was safe since it required drivers to reach down and adjust settings while driving.
Today, even seemingly minor actions such as talking on a cell phone hands-free can still result in a distracted driving accident, and it’s still essential to focus on the road and staying in control of your vehicle while in motion on the highways.
Distracted Driving Accidents: A Legal Challenge
It’s important to note that distracted driving accidents can be difficult when injured parties attempt to recover damages. Why? Because their legal counsel must prove the opposing driver was acting negligently while in transit.
For this reason, you should always consult with a Florida personal injury and car accident attorney who specifically handles distracted driving cases and understands how to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts of the case. The attorney you select can make a major difference in this emerging trend of auto accident cases, especially in high-value claims resulting from serious injuries.
Everyone should avoid driving while distracted. It will save lives and prevent serious injuries. Remember, it only takes a second of distraction to rear end the car in front or sideswipe the drivers on either side.