Distracted driving is a big problem in the Sunshine State. In 2017, there were almost 50,000 automobile accidents in Florida involving distracted drivers; these accidents accounted for more than 3,000 injuries and 200 fatalities. The state has the second highest rate of distracted driver accidents in the country, right behind Louisiana.
Distracted driving happens when a driver’s attention is diverted from what’s going on around them on the road. This means they may not see or react to a hazardous situation until it’s too late, putting themselves and others at risk. The few seconds it takes to respond to a text, reach for a water bottle that’s rolled under the seat or just daydreaming are all it takes for an accident to happen.
Three Types of Distracted Driving
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are three different types of driver distractions:
- Visual – Taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive – Thinking about something other than driving.
Texting is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving in Florida since it involves all three types of distraction. Other potentially dangerous distractions can include putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, tending to children or pets, talking to passengers, eating or drinking, drowsy driving, adjusting the radio, checking GPS navigation and even daydreaming.
Younger drivers are more likely to be distracted while driving than older ones; drivers under the age of 30 accounted for more than 20,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida.
When a person drives while distracted, they put their own lives and the lives of their passengers and those sharing the road with them at risk. Driving distracted for even a moment can lead to tragedy.
“It’s easy to underestimate the devastating effects of distracted driving, but that doesn’t make it any less deadly for our drivers and the officers who are trying to keep them safe on our roads and highways,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association in a recent press release. “Make a commitment today to put down your phone and whatever else might be commanding your attention and keep your eyes on the road.”
Deal with Distractions Before You Get Behind the Wheel
Getting rid of potential distractions before you hit the road and staying focused behind the wheel is the best way to avoid getting distracted on the road.
Here’s some things you can do to make sure you aren’t distracted while driving:
- Make any needed adjustments inside the car – mirror, seats and steering wheel – before you leave.
- Stay off the phone; use your cellphone for emergencies only.
- If you’re drowsy, pull off the road.
- Ask passengers to perform tasks like changing radio stations, looking at GPS, etc.
- Use radio presets,
- Avoid eating or drinking while driving,
- Don’t try to multi-task behind the wheel – focus on driving,
Have You Been Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident in Florida?
Lakeland personal injury attorney Tania Rivas and the Rivas Law Group have been successfully representing clients injured in all types of auto accidents for more than 20 years. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lutz or another central Florida community, you may be able to recover compensation for the losses caused by your injuries by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options. Don’t wait too long — the sooner you seek legal representation, the better your chances of winning your case.