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Florida Drivers Are Among the Most Distracted

DistractedDriving

Distracted driving is a serious problem in Florida, especially when that distraction comes in the form of a cell phone. In fact, a study conducted by the Transportation Research Laboratory found that texting delays a driver’s reaction time significantly more than alcohol delays a drunk driver’s reaction time.

According to another study, Florida ranks second-worst in distracted driving, meaning that a significant number of Floridian drivers are distracted by their cellphones while behind the wheel.

Even though the problem is worse in Florida, distracted driving is still a national issue. In 2015, there were 391,000 people in the United States injured in accidents involving distracted drivers, according to the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And there were almost 3.500 fatalities.

Here are a few other alarming facts and statistics from the NHTSA:

  • Sending or reading a text typically takes your eyes off the road for five seconds, which at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
  • Approximately 660,000 drivers use their cellphones while driving during daylight hours, which is a lot of potential accidents.
  • The majority of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes are teenagers.

Bus Crash Caused by Texting

A recent crash in Texas highlights the dangers of texting while driving. Thirteen senior citizens were killed in March 2017 when a pickup truck crashed head-on into a church bus coming back from a choir retreat. The truck driver admitted that he had been texting.

“I’m sorry. I was texting,” he said after the accident.

This is an accident that could have easily happened in Florida. But it did hit close to home for one Florida woman, whose mother was one of the bus passengers who died in the crash. The daughter is now part of the fight against distracted driving.

Texting While Driving Is “Secondary Offense” in Florida

Despite the dangers of texting while driving, Florida law only makes it a secondary offense, meaning that a police officer can’t stop a driver for texting — he can only make a stop if he observes the driver committing another offense, like speeding. The driver can then be cited for texting.

Florida is one of only a few states in which texting while driving is a secondary and not a primary offense for which you can be pulled over. While some state legislators have introduced bills that would make texting while driving a primary offense in Florida, lawmakers haven’t yet agreed on a solution.

Whatever the criminal consequences of texting while driving, people injured by distracted drivers have the right to bring personal injury lawsuits. Loved ones may also bring wrongful death lawsuits.

Contact Us Today

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact an Orlando personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation. We will help ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Daytona and Bradenton areas.

Resources:

orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-texting-while-driving-nothing-to-laugh-about-20170330-story.html

miamiherald.com/news/local/article145609144.html

nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-driver-texting-texas-church-bus-crash-20170331-story.html

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