Kissimmee Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Out of slightly more than 400,000 crashes reported in Florida in 2018, well over one-fourth involved a distracted driver. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles categorizes distracted driving crashes as those involving:
- Electronic communication devices such as a cell phone
- Other electronic devices such as a navigation device or a DVD player
- Other inside-the-vehicle distractions
- External distractions
Distracted driving is a bad habit, and a dangerous one. These accidents were responsible for 236 confirmed deaths in Florida in 2018, along with 3,100 incapacitating injuries, 12,598 non-incapacitating injuries, and 29,337 other possible injuries. All of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented had the distracted driver been paying attention to the road instead of a phone or other distraction.
The Kissimmee distracted driving accident lawyers at Draper Law Office help car accident victims in Osceola County hold drivers accountable when their texting while driving or other distracted driving behaviors cause significant injuries to others on the road.
What Exactly Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving can be anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving. Long before cell phones and GPS, people engaged in distracting behaviors while driving such as eating, putting on makeup, shaving or dressing, reading maps or newspapers, daydreaming, or getting involved in intense conversations with other people in the car. Today, all of these distractions are still with us, along with the ever-present urge to read or send a text, answer a phone call, program our GPS or audio playlist, or check in on our newsfeeds and social media accounts. Unlike other distracted driving activities, these high-tech distractions are always with us and generate a sense of urgency for “fear of missing out” that is far greater than their actual importance in our lives.
Safety researchers classify distracted driving into three different categories: visual, manual and cognitive.
Visual – Eyes off the road. Common visual distractions include reading a text or map or looking at your notes for work. If you glance away from the road for three and a half seconds at 60mph, you’ve just traveled the length of a football field. Constantly scanning the road is essential to safe driving, and even the briefest visual distractions can be deadly.
Manual – Hands off the wheel. Today’s manual distractions include programming a GPS or interacting with your in-vehicle infotainment system. Applying makeup or eating while driving can also take your hands off the wheel at a critical moment.
Cognitive – Mind off of driving. As experienced drivers, we tend to put our driving on auto-pilot and let our minds wander. Yet, while in control of a two-tone vehicle barreling down the highway, it is not the time to mentally prepare for an upcoming work meeting or relive an argument you had earlier in the day, let alone type out a text or read a news article on your phone.
Some behaviors involve two or all types of distractions. The more categories of distraction involved, the greater the distraction and danger to the driver. With cognitive distractions in particular, even after the distracting behavior is stopped, it still takes several minutes for the driver’s attention to return to the road and the critical task of driving.
What Does Florida Law Say About Distracted Driving?
Florida’s texting while driving law was updated in the middle of 2019. It is illegal in Florida to manually enter letters, numbers or other keys into a phone while operating a motor vehicle. In other words, texting while driving, sending an e-mail, instant messaging, or any other function for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication is prohibited while driving. Previously a secondary offense, violation of the law is now a primary offense, meaning the police don’t need any other reason to pull somebody over and cite them for texting while driving. After this change was first implemented, police officers issued warnings throughout the remainder of 2019, but they began giving tickets and fines in 2020.
Actions such as talking on a handheld device while driving or texting while stopped at a light might technically be legal under the current law, but they are still distracting behaviors that could cause a motor vehicle crash or pedestrian accident. The safer option is to leave the phone alone until you get to the end of your drive. Also, any handheld phone use is explicitly prohibited while driving through a school zone, school crossing, or construction work zone.
Help Is Available After a Distracted Driving Car Accident in Kissimmee and Osceola County
If you or a loved one is hurt in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, help send a message to the driver, their insurer and the community at large that such dangerous behavior is not to be tolerated. Call Draper Law Office in Kissimmee for a free, confidential consultation about holding the driver accountable and recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.