The Real Dangers Of Distracted Driving In Florida

In the United States, Florida ranked 14th in distracted driving fatalities for the 2019-2020 period. The 2019-2020 period alone saw more than 500 distracted driving related fatalities, and more than 56,000 total distracted driving accidents in all. In 2022, the FLHSMV launched its first distracted driving campaign during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, encouraging drivers to Put it Down and learn more about the very real dangers of distracted driving in Florida.

Distracted Driving Is Against The Law In Florida

In 2019, the state of Florida enacted new laws to fight the dangers of distracted driving. According to FS 316.305, a person may not operate any motor vehicle while operating a wireless communication device or while sending or receiving data on that device. This includes entering multiple numbers, symbols, or letters into a device and reading, or sending nonvoice interpersonal communications.

It was found, however, that these laws are rarely enforced throughout the state and that distracted driving remains a very real problem on Florida roadways. With nearly 15 million licensed drivers in Florida, only 3,410 distracted driving tickets were issued in 2020, the first full year the new law was in effect.

A first-time texting and driving traffic offense will cost a motorist a $30 fine, multiple offenses can cost drivers more than $100 as well as points issued against their license. With 56,000 total distracted driving accidents in 2019-2020, and only 3,410 tickets issued in 2020, there are many distracted drivers still being missed on the road.

Distracted Driving Can Mean More Than Texting

While texting and driving has become a major issue in recent years, distracted driving isn’t necessarily new. Distracted driving can be defined as any activity that physically, visually, or cognitively takes the attention of the driver from the road, and may include:

• Texting or calling
• Adjusting the radio
• Putting on makeup
• Talking to other passengers
• Plugging information into GPS
• Taking photos
• Eating or drinking

Those who take their breakfast on the way into work may partake regularly in distracted driving without even realizing it. In studies conducted by the University of Utah, it was found that distracted drivers were 5 times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who give their full attention to the road.

3 Types Of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is defined in 3 ways, and the act of texting includes all 3 types of distractions. The types of distracted driving are:

• Visual distraction – This occurs when a motorist takes their eyes off the road. This could mean looking back to see if the kids are behaving in the backseat, looking at the radio or GPS device, or looking at a passenger while having a conversation.
• Cognitive distraction – Cognitive distraction occurs when an activity takes the mind off of the road. This could include daydreaming, thinking about the workday ahead, or any activity that takes the mind off of what is happening on the road.
• Manual distraction – A manual distraction is any activity that takes the hands off of the steering wheel while driving. This could be grooming, eating or drinking, plugging information into a GPS, or digging through a bag.

Distracted Driving In 2021

Distracted driving is going up in Florida, and the increase is dramatic. In 2019 the state saw 268 distracted driving fatalities, 2020 that number rose to 315, and in 2021 the number reached an all-time high of 350. If this projection continues, this could mean over 400 distracted driving related fatalities in 2022.

Distracted driving can be dangerous and deadly. If you’ve experienced a distracted driving accident in Florida, contact us at to learn more about your rights.


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