At the law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. we want to remind drivers that April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month and a driving safety principle that should be remembered year round.
The National Security Council and the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Crashes caused by distracted driving have increased 26 percent in Florida since 2013 and have caused 233 fatalities in 2016.
Distracted driving is defined as any mental or physical activity that takes the driver’s focus away from the task of driving.
There are three main categories of distracted driving:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the steering wheel;
- Cognitive: thinking about anything other than driving.
Some of the most common types of driving distractions include:
- Texting and talking on the cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Personal grooming (i.e. – brushing hair, putting on make-up, etc.)
- Interacting with passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Tending to an unsecured pet
- Watching a video
- Lighting a cigarette
- Adjusting the stereo or climate control
- An object, person or event outside of the vehicle that takes the driver’s attention away from the road.
According to research released by the National Security Council, 47 percent of people say that they are comfortable texting while driving. Researches at Life360, an app that helps families keep track of one another, completed a separate study that showed drivers in the Southeastern U.S. are the biggest offenders when it comes to using cell phones while driving.
Out of all these distractions, texting while driving is by far the most dangerous distraction, because it requires visual, manual and cognitive focus from the driver.Florida Statute 316.305 (“Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”) prohibits texting while driving in the State of Florida. Since Oct. 1, 2013 motorists in Florida can receive a ticket if they are caught texting while driving. This violation is considered a secondary offense, which means law enforcement must stop a driver for another offense, first – such as careless driving or speeding. Distracted driving crashes have increased in Florida by 25 percent since 2012. Teens represented only five percent of licensed drivers and were responsible for 12 percent of distracted driving crashes. Drivers aged 20-29 were responsible for 31 percent of Florida car crashes. Cell phone use while driving plays a role in 1.6 million auto accidents each year, causing 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Driving distracted, even for a moment, can lead to a catastrophe. At the Law Firm of Michael T. Gibson, we want to remind drivers to keep their focus on the road to eliminate distracted driving crashes.
In order to avoid a crash, a driver must have time to not only perceive a hazard, but also react and give the vehicle time to stop. The distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver sees a hazard until the brain recognizes it, is called driver perception distance. The distance a car will continue to travel after seeing a hazard until the driver physically hits the brakes is called the reaction distance. Both of which dramatically affect a vehicle’s stopping distance. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, even a driver who is focused on the road and driving 50 mph will travel approximately half the length of a football field before coming to a complete stop.
Additional Distracted Driver Awareness Month Resources
Help Us Prevent Distracted Driving in Central Florida
If you or a loved one were involved in an automobile accident with a distracted driver, you need to contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Attorney immediately. The damages from a serious car accident are not always covered in a settlement from your insurance company. Many times, the initial settlement offer is barely enough to cover the basic costs associated with your accident. Distracted driving can be difficult to prove in court. Our personal injury attorneys are well equipped and armed with years of legal experience helping people file auto insurance claims. We can help you obtain full compensation for your medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.