Floridians Are Near The Top Of The Distracted Driving List
The state of Florida sees a lot of car accident action. In fact, it trails only Texas and California for the most motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. In 2016, there were 395,785 traffic accidents, which averages out to 1,081 accidents each day. Many of these accidents are due to common driver error, with distracted driving nearing the top of the list.
Bad Driving Habits Cause Auto Accidents
The state of Louisiana ranks the highest on the list when it comes to distracted drivers. Unfortunately, Florida comes in at a close second. There were more than 45,000 car accidents in Florida in 2016 due to distracted drivers. And it the number of lives those accidents claimed totaled around one person per day. This is why accidents involving people who are distracted, such as those who are on a cell phone, often end up in the legal system under the guidance of a car accident lawyer.
Distracted driving isn’t the only thing that causes major accidents on the Florida roadways. Here are a few other operator errors induced areas of concern.
• Impaired driving – Nearly one-third of all motor vehicle crash deaths in the U.S. involves an impaired driver. In 2017, the state of Florida saw 5,125 alcohol related car accidents that resulted in 350 fatalities.
• Lack of a signal indicator – As it turns out, not using a turn signal can cause major chaos on the roadways. When other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians can’t anticipate the next move, they can’t take safety precautions.
• Speeding – There’s no secret that speeding can put lives at risk. Not only does it give you less control over your vehicle, it increases the severity of injuries and fatalities when a crash occurs. Speeding causes over 25 percent of all car accident fatalities in the U.S. yearly.
• Failure to yield – The basic rules of the road are often forgotten: Yield to oncoming traffic when making a left turn, yield to the driver on the right at a 4-way stop, yield to pedestrians so they can cross the road safely. Too many accidents occur from basic neglect.
Top Causes of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving covers a large ground. When it comes to the leading causes of distracted drivers in Florida, here’s how the distractions rank:
• 62 percent of distracted drivers are lost in their own thoughts
• 12 percent are using a cell phone for either talking or texting
• 7 percent are distracted by an event or a person that is outside their vehicle
• 5 percent of drivers become distracted by passengers inside their own vehicle
• 2 percent are distracted by outside devices
• 2 percent of distracted drivers are eating or drinking while they drive
• 2 percent are adjusting the radio or climate control
• 1 percent of distracted drivers are adjusting their mirrors
• 1 percent are distracted by pets inside the car
• 1 percent of distracted drivers are smoking
These statistics stress the importance of paying attention to the road while you drive. While it’s easy to get lost in your thoughts, nothing is important enough to risk losing your life—or taking someone else’s--in an accident.
Those who are distracted by cell phone usage can take advantage of new apps that prevent cell phone usage while the car is in motion. Waze, Apple, AT&T, and Android all have offerings that can help keep you focused on the task at hand.
The Coming Of A New Law
A bill was recently approved by the Senate committee that could make eating your breakfast or putting on your makeup as you drive to work a punishable offence. Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson addresses the distracted driving epidemic in Florida. “Bike riding, hiking, and jogging— all of those things — we've had record numbers of deaths in this state by distracted driving,” he said. The decision has been supported by several parents whose children were killed in accidents caused by distracted drivers.
Currently it’s illegal to talk on a cellphone while driving in the state of Florida, but drivers can only be ticketed if they are pulled over for another offence. Under the new bill, law enforcement would be able to pull drivers over for no other reason than a distracted driving offence. If enacted, Florida residents would have a three-month period where warning would be given, but after the three months are up, tickets could be issued for the offence. The bill still has two committee stops and a hearing in the House before a determination is made. Perhaps this is the way to knock Florida down a few spots from being a distracted place to drive.