When we drive, we expect other drivers on the road to be responsible. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In fact, the impact of distracted driving is significant.
Recent research indicates that distracted driving claims eight lives daily. Additionally, about 20% of all injuries in car accidents involve distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a significant danger on today’s roadways and can be deadly. If you experienced an accident involving cell phones, you know the impact of distracted driving.
Fortunately, states like Florida are holding distracted drivers accountable.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what the Sunshine State is doing to limit distracted driving and protect those injured in accidents.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is the act of driving a motor vehicle while engaging in an activity that takes the driver’s attention off the road.
Distracted driving involves any of the following:
Cell phones. Drivers use their phones at least 10% of their driving time. Cell phones are a significant cause of distracted driving. As such, many states impose handheld cell phone bans for drivers.
Eating. 52.5% of drivers report eating while driving. Unfortunately, drivers are three times more likely to crash while eating behind the wheel.
Applying makeup. 6.5% of all drivers report applying makeup while driving, and 11.7% admit that they take photos while operating their vehicles.
And more. Other causes of distracted driving include watching videos, reading, or reaching for objects in and around the vehicle’s cab.
In 2021, distracted driving caused 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries. In an attempt to limit distracted driving, 47 states currently have bans on texting while driving.
The Impact of Distracted Driving in Florida
Distracted driving has become more and more common in recent years.
Even as smartphone companies build features like “do not disturb” to limit distracted driving, 49% of adults continue to text and drive, even though 98% realize it is unsafe.
Part of what makes distracted driving so difficult to combat is that there are so many ways to do it.
Drivers can be distracted by their phones, by the need to tune the radio or take a swig of coffee, or by trying to pick up something a young child threw in the back seat.
In Florida, there are more than 1,000 distracted driving crashes each week. That adds up to more than 56,000 distracted driving crashes each year. In fact, the state saw its highest fatality rate in 2021: 333 fatalities in a single year.
Who is Liable for a Distracted Driving Accident?
Each accident is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for determining liability. To determine liability, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer to help you prove negligence and gather a body of evidence to support the case.
Specifically, your attorney will need to prove duty (that the other driver had a duty of care to protect you and other motorists) and that they breached that duty by being negligent or careless. You’ll also need to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and that you sustained damages as a result.
This may involve collecting assets like cell phone records, footage from security cameras, and witness statements.
In Florida, drivers who are deemed negligent in a distracted driving crash (or their insurance companies) may be on the hook for providing compensation for a victim’s medical bills, property damage expenses, and more.
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, secure a personal injury attorney to help represent your case. Experience legal counsel will advocate for your payout and help you avoid costly mistakes during the claims process.
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident?
The aftermath of a distracted driving accident can be overwhelming.
Keep calm and follow these steps:
Call the police. After a distracted driving accident, the first thing to do is call the police. They’ll file an accident report and provide the legal documentation you’ll need to file a claim later.
Gather evidence. Use your cell phone to take photos of the damage, including the damage to your car. Take pictures of road hazards, traffic signals, and weather conditions. Gather information, including witness names, contact information, and auto insurance information for every party involved in the accident.
Seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel injured, seek medical treatment. Florida’s 14-day rule requires injured parties to seek medical treatment within two weeks of an accident to collect Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Additionally, some injuries don’t show symptoms right away. Seeing a medical doctor promptly is the only way to identify these injuries and get the treatment needed.
Call an attorney. Contact an accident attorney as quickly as possible after the accident. A distracted driving lawyer can help you secure compensation and get life back to normal as soon as possible.
How to Lessen the Impact of Distracted Driving: 5 Safety Tips
Reduce the impact of distracted driving with these safety tips:
Turn off your phone
Every time you get in the car, turn off your phone.
Alternately, put your phone on “Do Not Disturb,” which will silence your notifications until you’re out of the vehicle. This is a simple but effective way to prevent distracted driving and stay safer.
Know the risks
Distracted driving doesn’t always involve a phone. Sometimes, it’s as simple as focusing on another passenger in the vehicle or trying to eat lunch on the go.
To avoid these risks, try to do everything you need to do before you start driving. Alternately, wait until you’re stopped at a traffic light to engage with passengers, eat, or drink.
Stay aware of your surroundings and be mindful of what other drivers are doing around you. While you can’t control other drivers, you can avoid their unsafe or erratic behavior.
To prevent distractions, pre-program your music, podcast, or navigation system before you hit the road.
Keep your vehicle clean
Keep your car as clean as possible, and remove unnecessary or loose objects before you set out on the road.
Have you Been Impacted by Distracted Driving? We can Help!
If you’ve experienced the impact of distracted driving, you need an attorney to help you through the aftermath.
Cell phones and other distractions claim hundreds of lives on Florida roadways yearly.
Fortunately, our team is here to help you seek justice. If you live in or around Pensacola, contact us to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you.