Texting and driving accidents are a serious problem across the US, but Florida may soon join many other states in making it easier for law enforcement officers to identify and apprehend motorists who engage in this risky behavior. If passed, Senate Bill 90 will make it a primary offense to text while driving, which means police can pull over a driver violating the law without needing other cause to make the stop. Texting and other forms of distracted driving leads to a higher risk of collisions, putting many innocent victims in harm’s way, including other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. If you experienced injuries resulting from a driver’s distracted driving, consult with an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer right away.
Distracted Driving is Impaired Driving
Many would argue that sending or receiving a message, or surfing the internet is as dangerous as drunk driving. There are many statistics that would support distracted driving as operating a vehicle while impaired.
- A driver traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour has his or her eyes off the road for an average of five seconds when reading or sending a text message. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this is equal to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.
- In 2015, there were 3,477 fatalities nationwide in car accidents involving distracted drivers.
- Collisions caused by distracted driving, including texting while driving, are on the rise. The 2015 figures reflect an increase over previous years, as fatalities due to distracted driving were 3,154 in 2013, and 3,179 in 2014.
Why Texting and Driving is Dangerous
The statistics on distracted driving are troubling, but there are obvious reasons why this conduct is a factor in some many Florida car accidents. Using a cell phone is considered an internal distraction because the activity occurs inside the car and interferes with the driver’s concentration. There are three ways that texting and driving impact focus:
- Visual: When a motorist’s eyes are off the road and occupied by something other than driving, he or she may not see an approaching hazard. Visual impairment makes a driver less likely to spot a hazard in time to react.
- Manual: Drivers who are texting or surfing the internet are taking their hands off the wheel and away from the primary operations of the car. The short time it may take to return to interacting with the vehicle’s systems is all it takes to cause a crash.
- Cognitive: A driver’s mind may stray away from operating the car when he or she is thinking about the contents of a text message or social media post. Driving is a task that requires keen focus, and strict attention to road and traffic conditions. Any impact on cognitive abilities leads to the risk of a collision.
Regardless of Florida’s law punishing those who text and drive, there are still too many distracted drivers who will be a threat to others. You do have a right to recover for losses if injured due to this type of negligence, so please call 352-581-6174 to reach the Ocala, FL law firm of Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law to schedule a free consultation. You can also visit our website for more information on our personal injury legal services.