Distracted Driving in Florida

National Overview

Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in other activities that may divert the drivers attention. These activities include texting, eating, rubbernecking, using a car’s navigation system or anything that can take the driver’s focus off of the road. According to the United States Department of Transportation, texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times higher than driving while not distracted. Despite these telling statistics, at least 37% of drivers admitted to sending or receiving messages while driving with 18% admitting to doing so regularly.

Distracted driving may be broken down into three categories, visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distraction involves taking one’s eyes off the road, manual distraction involves taking one’s hands off of the wheel and cognitive distraction occurs when one’s focus is not on driving as they allow their mind to wander. Acts such as texting while driving involve a combination of visual, manual and cognitive distraction.

Texting while driving is not the only form of distracted driving, however it is the most commonly reported. Distracted driving is particularly devastating amongst teenagers as a study by the AAA Foundation found that 15% of crashes were due to a teen driver distracted while talking to a passenger while another 12% were due to a teenager using their cell phone while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that distracted driving accounts for 25% of all crashes involving teens.

Florida’s Statistics

Florida was recently ranked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the state with the most severe carless/distracted driving problem. Initially, Miami-Dade led all 67 Florida counties for distracted driving accident and injury statistics. However, in 2015, Orange County led with 5,506 distracted driving accidents while around 4,500 occurred in Miami-Dade. In Orange County, more than half of those accidents involved injuries and 13 involved fatalities. Across the state, more than 45,000 accidents and over 200 fatalities occurred as a result of distracted driving that year (2015).

Florida’s Laws
In Florida, texting while driving is a “secondary offense” by law. This means you cannot be pulled over and ticketed for texting while driving unless you broke another law such as speeding or running a red light. However, a new bill has been filed by the Florida House of Representatives that would make texting while driving a primary offense.

Florida’s Plans for Prevention

Furthermore, the 2016 Florida Strategic Highway Safety Plan was designed to crack down on distracted driving by focussing on three goals.

  • The plan intends to implement effective roadway design and operation practices such as rumble strips, stripes and flashing beacons with warning signs to mitigate lane departures, speeding and other symptoms of distracted driving. Additionally, these improvements in design and practice would help cure congestion and improve mobility.
  • The plan also is focussed on changing societal attitudes about distracted driving through intensive public education activities.
  • Lastly, the safety plan aims to collaborate with public and private organizations to offer innovative solutions such as policies that prohibit distracted driving when using company or organization vehicles.

Involved in an Accident?

If you or someone you know has been in an accident involving distracted driving it is necessary that you contact an experienced attorney who can help get the compensation you deserve. Please call attorney Frank Eidson, P.A. at 407-315-2764 (toll free: 888-245-2855) for a free case review. You may also email Frank personally at frank@frankeidson.com or visit his office at 327 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL, 32801.


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