There are too many people being injured or killed in Florida due to distracted driving. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, there were 48,488 distracted driving related accidents across the state in 2020. These accidents caused 2,747 serious bodily injuries and 299 deaths.
To shine a spotlight on the problem, the National Safety Council has declared April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The FLHSMV, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and several other organizations are teaming up with the NSC to call attention to the dangers of driving while distracted in Florida.
Distracted Driving in Florida
You can’t drive safely unless you keep your full attention on the road. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the task of driving. This can include talking on a cellphone, texting, rubber-necking, adjusting your stereo, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, daydreaming, reading a map, or reaching for an item in the vehicle.
It’s basically anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off the task of driving.
All types of distracted driving put the driver and their passengers at risk. As a driver, you must be able to perceive and react to any potential hazards before they result in an accident. While it can be tempting to respond to a text or answer that call, the consequences could be terrible.
That’s because the driver’s perception distance (the distance a vehicle travels between the time a driver sees a hazardous situation and their brain recognizes it as such) and the reaction distance (the distance a vehicle will travel between the time the driver recognizes the hazard and hits the brakes) have a dramatic effect on the distance it will take for the vehicle to come to a complete stop.
For example, if you’re doing 50 mph, it will take you 268 feet — almost the length of a football field — to come to a complete stop, even if your attention is totally focused on the road.
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
Staying focused on the road isn’t something we should do only during Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Here are a few suggestions to help prevent distracted driving every time you get behind the wheel:
- Make all your adjustments — rear view mirror, radio stations, GPS — before you leave.
- Turn off your electronic devices and put them out of reach before you hit the streets.
- If you must use a device, pull off the road.
- Don’t eat or drink while driving.
- Be a good role model. Talk with your teens about responsible driving and set a good example while you’re behind the wheel.
- Make sure all passengers, especially children and pets, are safely secured.
- If you’re the passenger, speak up if the driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to assist — make the call, read the map, etc. — so the driver can give their full attention to the road.
If You’ve Been Injured, Speak with a Florida Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Has your life been turned upside down after being injured in a car accident that involved a distracted driver in Lakeland, Winter Haven or other Polk County community? Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages you suffered due to your injuries.
Tania Rivas and Rivas Law Group are here to help you get your life back in order after suffering a serious injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact Rivas Law Group to schedule a free consultation with Tania. She’s here to listen to your story, answer any legal questions you might have, and provide helpful, experienced advice on the best way to move forward with your distracted driver injury claim.