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When it comes to distracted driving, Florida ranks high. Knowing the statistics can help prevent future accidents.

Nowadays, there are more distractions affecting drivers than ever before. This problem is clearly evident when you look at the statistics.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents (2015). By the end of 2016, 3,450 people died as a result of collisions caused by distracted driving. Teens were involved in the majority of fatal motor vehicle collisions that occurred due to being distracted.

Florida Personal Injury Guide: cell phone use while driving

Texting and driving in the United States

Using cell phones while driving has become a major problem. A survey of drivers revealed that more than 480,000 people admitted to using their cell phones while driving. The survey was taken by drivers of all ages.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 4.9 percent of people aged 16 to 24 were caught visibly texting while driving. Of drivers aged 25 to 69, 2.1 percent were caught in the act.

Texting and driving is an extremely dangerous activity that causes the driver to divert their attention, which reduces their ability to react quickly to sudden dangers. Depending on the situation, a driver may not have time to react at all before a disaster occurs.

Types of distracted driving

Using a mobile phone isn’t the only reason why drivers become distracted. Other types of distracted driving include:

  • Visual. Drivers are distracted visually when they divert their vision from the road. The situation may occur when a parent turns to scold or tend to children in the rear seat. A driver may look at a passenger while engaged in a conversation. They might take their eyes away from the road while looking at a map or the navigation system.
  • Manual. Drivers are distracted manually when they take their hands off the steering wheel. Drivers take at least one hand off the wheel when reaching for an object, while eating or grooming themselves. Some might use a hand to change radio stations or other functions on the infotainment system.
  • Cognitive. Drivers become cognitively distracted when driving if their mind is filled with thoughts other than driving. There are many thoughts that consume our minds throughout the day, which may be pleasant or troubling. The problem emerges when a driver allows their thoughts to divert their attention while operating a motor vehicle. Cognitive distraction also occurs when drivers become focused on the conversation while talking on their phone.

Florida texting and driving law

The state of Florida adopted FS 316.305, which refers to the illegal act of operating wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. The law prohibits anyone from driving while typing on a handheld mobile device in order to engage in any form of communication. Drivers cannot legally email, instant message or text.

Motorists caught manually using a mobile device are subject to receiving a traffic violation. Drivers caught committing the act more than one time in five years are subject to one or more of the following penalties:

  • A traffic citation requiring a court appearance
  • Civil penalty fines
  • Required attendance in a driving improvement school
  • Completion of 120 hours of community service if the act caused a motor vehicle collision and a subsequent fatality
  • The release of mobile device communication records to be submitted in court as evidence

Consult an attorney if in an accident caused by distracted driving

As these and other statistics indicate, distracted driving increases the likelihood of motor vehicle collisions.

Anyone who is injured (physically, emotionally or financially) because of a distracted driver may be entitled to receive monetary compensation. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling vehicle accident claims and situations that involve distracted drivers.

A personal injury attorney provides comprehensive legal services on behalf of clients. We understand the stress and trauma victims endure secondary to being involved in a motor vehicle collision. An attorney helps alleviate some of the stress by acting as a mediator between a client and insurance companies.

Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.