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The Most Common Causes Of Sarasota Car Crashes: Distracted Driving

Sarasota with its beaches, vibrant arts scene, and picturesque sunsets may be considered a jewel of the Gulf Coast to outsiders, but in reality, our community is a growing metro area with our share of larger city problems – especially traffic.

This is most obvious on Sarasota’s busiest roads like Tamiami Trail, Fruitville Road, US 301, and University Parkway. The traffic on these major roads has contributed to a significant, and an increasing number of car accidents.

As Sarasota car accident attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh, we have seen the number and severity of these cases increase, and understanding the leading causes of serious car crashes in the area is crucial to providing effective legal assistance to our clients.

In this series, beginning with Distracted Driving, we will be exploring the top reasons that can lead to severe car accidents in Sarasota Florida.

Distracted Driving – Handheld Devices Increase Risk On Sarasota’s Roads

Just like the rest of the country, distracted driving in Florida is a leading cause of car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2019, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives (1). On Sarasota’s busy roads, drivers may be distracted by a wide variety of reasons from texting and making phone calls, to adjusting the radio or attending to passengers. Florida’s texting and driving law (2) prohibits the use of texting on handheld devices while driving to minimize the risk of accidents caused by distracted driving.

Distracted driving is categorized into three main types:

taking one’s eyes off the road
Manual distractions: taking one’s hands off the wheel
Cognitive distractions: taking one’s mind off driving (1)

Some of the most common and most dangerous reasons drivers are distracted include texting or talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, using a navigation system like a Garmin, or speaking to their children or passengers while driving.

Florida 2019 Texting While Diving Law – A Weak Protection For Sarasota Drivers

In response to an ever-increasing tally of people who have been injured or have died in a car accident caused by distracted driving, the Florida legislature passed a law to punish distracted drivers for helping make Florida’s roads safer.

Florida’s texting and driving law, which went into effect in 2019, prohibits the use of handheld devices for texting or non-voice communication while driving. Additionally, the law also bans the use of handheld devices on roads when driving within school zones and construction work zones.

Even though under Florida Statutes Section 316.305, police can stop any vehicle and issue a ticket to motorists who are texting and driving, violators of Florida’s distracted driving laws will only face small fines and get points on their driver’s licenses. Many of us who see the effect of texting and driving in the real world, feel that the Florida law is too watered down to have much of an effect in controlling texting while driving.

The penalties for texting while driving are just not strong enough to deter most drivers from engaging in dangerous behavior, and as a result, serious car accidents in Sarasota caused by distracted driving continue to occur in Sarasota.

Distracted driving is a dangerous and prevalent issue in our community, that continues to put the personal safety of drivers, passengers, and bystanders at risk. As long-time personal injury attorneys serving Sarasota for over 30 years, we understand the implications of distracted driving and while flawed, Florida’s laws can help provide effective legal assistance to clients affected by such incidents.

As practicing injury lawyers we help the Sarasota community reduce distracted driving crashes by attempting to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and by advocating for injured accident victims. Together we can contribute to making Sarasota’s roads safer for everyone.

Read More
The Most Common Causes Of Sarasota Car Crashes: Speeding & Aggressive Driving


(1) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Distracted Driving:

(2) Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – Florida’s Texting and Driving Law.

Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.

The Most Common Causes Of Sarasota Car Crashes: Distracted Driving

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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