On December 18, 2016 two pedestrians walking on a sidewalk were hit by a vehicle in Clearwater, Florida. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene of the accident without attempting to render aid to either pedestrian. After the accident was publicized the driver, Vincent Edward Barone, was arrested and charged with two counts of fleeing the scene of a crash. The Clearwater resident who was a respected teacher stated that he was playing the popular game Pokemon Go when the accident occurred. The accident became yet another example of how distracted drivers endanger Florida pedestrians.
Florida Distracted Driver Statistics
Florida is consistently ranked as one of the top states in the country when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cited distracted drivers as the primary reason for the majority of accidents in Florida. Over 46,000 accidents occurred in Florida that were attributed to distracted driving leading to approximately 214 deaths. The severity of the problem has led to Florida declaring the month of April Distracted Driving Awareness Month to bring attention to the growing issue. Even with new awareness, distracted driving is still up by approximately nine percent.
Florida Pedestrian Risks
The group placed at the most risk by distracted drivers in Florida are pedestrians. When driving while distracted a motor vehicle operator may not see a person or group crossing at a crosswalk. In fact, a distracted driver might completely overlook the fact that a light is red or that traffic has slowed. In situations like the accident that occurred in Clearwater, Florida the distracted driver can even leave the roadways and crash into pedestrians who are walking on sidewalks.
Numerous studies completed by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) have shown that some of the deaths of pedestrians could have been preventable. Currently the most dangerous places for pedestrians are all in Florida and include Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami. Nearly 15 percent of all traffic related deaths in the United States involve pedestrians with an average of one pedestrian being injured every eight minutes or killed every two hours.
Florida Distracted Driver Laws
Understanding the growing danger of distracted drivers, Florida has implemented new laws to ban certain distracting behavior that drivers engage in. Cell phones are constantly cited in accident reports leading to laws specifically targeting their usage. Florida has banned texting, checking email, and other distracting cell phone use excluding the use of a GPS.
The new laws were introduced after studies showed that using a cell phone to send a text message prevented drivers from using both hands to drive, caused drivers to take their eyes off of the road, and took their minds off of the act of driving. While the law is currently being revised, Florida lawmakers hope that it will reduce the number of fatal accidents caused by distracted drivers.
Contact an Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love were recently involved in an auto accident let John Piccin and Katie Glynn at Piccin & Glynn help. They are conveniently located in Ocala, and can help you if you are a pedestrian who was injured because of a distracted driver. Contact Piccin & Glynn today at 352-581-6174 to receive a free consultation giving you an opportunity to discuss your case with an auto accident lawyer.