We live in an age where people just can’t keep their phones down, even when on the road! Despite having fewer road accidents compared to the past – thanks to advanced and responsive vehicle safety features – distracted driving still poses a huge threat to all road users. So why is it a major concern?
Distracted Driving: The Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 9 people lose their lives every day, while over 1,000 sustain injuries from accidents arising from distracted driving. Worryingly, due to increased smartphone penetration, these numbers are only set to rise, as many drivers can’t seem to keep their phones down when driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can be broken down into several categories, depending on the type and nature of distraction involved. These include:
- Cognitive Distraction – Occurs when your mind wanders off when driving, and you lose your focus.
- Manual Distraction – When you take one or both of your hands off the wheel. (Eg. when texting or picking something off the dashboard.)
- Visual Distraction – When you take your eyes off the road.
Texting, making a call, looking at your face in the mirror, eating, reading emails, talking to passengers and applying makeup are some common examples of distracted driving. Out of these, texting is the most dangerous and potentially fatal form of distraction, as it fits into all the above categories of distractions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it takes an average of 5 seconds to read or write a short text when driving at a moderate speed of 55 mph. This is equivalent to the length of time it takes to drive through the length of a football field. If another car was to suddenly brake in front of you, you would have very little time to react, and a fatal accident could easily occur.
Cell Phone Laws in Florida
In Florida, using a cell phone, whether to text or read emails, when driving is primarily prohibited and carries tough penalties. Further, drivers with learner permits are required to not use any handheld devices for their first six months as drivers. Any sort of handheld device is also banned for school bus drivers and drivers passing through school lanes. Apart from state laws, local municipalities also have their own restrictions and ordinances in regard to mobile phone usage among drivers.
Preventing Distracted Driving
While strict laws and enforcement are quite effective deterrents, they cannot eliminate distracted driving on their own. It is therefore important for all drivers to understand the dangers of distracted driving, and learn to avoid or at least control any form of distraction while on the road. And if at all you must use your phone, pull over and get back on the road when you’re done.
All said and done, being all cautious and respectful of traffic laws doesn’t mean that other drivers will follow suit. However, you can always seek compensation if a distracted driver gets you involved in an accident.
Have you been a victim of a car accident in Orlando? Contact our experienced auto accident attorneys today!