Approximately three years ago, Florida enacted a texting and driving ban. However, critics of this law say it is not effective. According to data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, distracted drivers caused approximately 46,000 accidents just in 2015, which represented a huge increase since 2012, which was when just 33,511 distracted driving crashes occurred. Since that time, the number of distraction caused accidents has continued to go up.
While texting is one of the main causes of distracted driving accidents, there are other distractions, as well, which include:
- Personal grooming
- Keeping a pet that is unsecured in the vehicle
- Not paying attention to the road
- Talking with passengers
- Talking on your phone
Texting and Driving is a “Secondary Offense”
In the state of Florida, texting and driving is considered a secondary offense by law. This means that police are not able to give you a citation for this unless you have been pulled over for something else. Also, the fine for a first-time offender is only $30. Unfortunately, the legislation has not yet worked to pass a bill that would make texting and driving in Florida a primary offense.
The Danger of Texting and Driving
There are three main categories of distracted driving: cognitive, manual and visual. Visual distractions take your eyes away from the road, manual distractions mean you move your hands from the steering wheel, and cognitive distractions means you have taken your mind off of the task at hand – driving.
For example, if you are eating while you drive, that is a manual distraction. While you may be able to keep your eyes on the road and keep your mind on what you are doing, you are using your hands for something other than driving.
Even though all these types of distractions are dangerous, texting and driving is specifically dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions.
- Holding the phone is a manual distraction
- Reading/writing the text is a visual distraction and a cognitive one
Information for Those Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you are the victim of a car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, you have rights. For example, you have the right to recover monetary compensation for the damages and injuries you suffered.
In most cases, the best thing you can do is to hire a personal injury attorney in Florida. They can investigate your case and determine the best course of action.
For more information, contact West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer Scott J. Sternberg. His legal team can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.