Distracted Driving Is Serious Business
Why is it that people don’t realize the seriousness of distracted driving? After all, every motorist is controlling at least a ton of metal and rubber, not to mention combustible fluids, often at speeds over 60, 70, or even 80 miles per hour. Nonetheless, drivers succumb to distractions every day across the state, often with tragic outcomes.
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) there are more than 56,000 distracted driving collisions—an average of well over 1,000 every week– in the Sunshine State during 2021. That’s over 30 percent higher than the rate of accidents in 2014.
You May Not Realize…
It’s truly time for drivers to stop being so cavalier about such a serious task. Nine out of ten teens say they use their phones while behind the wheel. That’s far too many, and the number of adults doing so is likely not much different. But the consequences of distracted driving are serious. If someone is driving at 55 miles per hour and they glance at their phone to check a text message, they travel the full length of a football field, essentially blind. Some drivers may luck out and evade an accident. But others are not so lucky; There were over 2,700 severe injuries and 333 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in 2021 alone in Florida. Any injury or death is a tragedy, and so much more so when the victims of crashes were innocents who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, becoming victims through no fault of their own.
What Can Be Done?
Correcting the problem is going to require a commitment from motorists. As the Executive Director of FLHSMV pleads, drivers should make a pledge to drive in a manner you’d want other people to drive around your loved ones. That means, according to the Director of the highway patrol, keeping eyes set on the road, hands placed on the wheel, and minds focused on the task at hand. Specific tips include:
- Pull over to a safe location if you need to send or receive a text message;
- If you have a passenger in the vehicle, designate that person as the texter during the drive;
- Never participate in social media messages or scrolling while behind the wheel;
- As a passenger, insist the driver stays off of their phone;
- Consider enabling the Do Not Disturb function on your phone while driving;
- Avoid focusing on children or pets in the car while driving;
- Save the food and drink for another time;
- Limit time scrutinizing your navigation system.
Legal Penalties for Distracted Driving
While there are some low-dollar penalties for texting and driving, when the distraction results in an accident things can get much more costly. In some cases, victims may choose to file a civil suit against a distracted driver and may be eligible to collect damages to address medical costs, lost wages, and more. If you find yourself trying to recover from an accident caused by a distracted driver, the experienced Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group can help. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.