Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of serious auto accidents. In reality, all of these instances are entirely preventable when drivers take the proper precautions behind the wheel. To put the entirety of this problem into perspective, here are some relevant distracted driving statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Every day, about eight people lose their lives in distracted driving accidents.
- There were 2,841 people killed in distracted driving-related auto accidents in 2018. More than 400,000 more were injured.
- About 25% of drivers involved in 2018 fatal distracted driving crashes were young adults aged 20-29.
Knowing the most common types of driving distractions can help you, as a driver, stay safe behind the wheel. Here’s what you need to know.
Common Types of Driving Distractions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies three types of distracted driving:
- Visual. Anything that takes your eyes off of the road.
- Manual. Anything that takes your hands away from the wheel.
- Cognitive. Anything that takes your mind off of the task of driving
Texting behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous driving distractions because it requires you to take your eyes off the road to read a message (visual), take your hands off of the wheel to type a message (manual), and take your mind off the road to read and reply to the message (cognitive).
Some other forms of driving distractions that you will want to avoid include:
- Electronic devices
- Scenery other than the road
- Children or pets in the backseat
- GPS or other navigation systems
- Adjusting climate control
- Adjusting sound systems (radio, Bluetooth, CD player, etc.)
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Grooming (doing makeup, brushing hair, etc.)
- Reaching for something on the dashboard, seat, or floor
- Talking on the phone
- Talking with passengers
- Zoning out
Florida Distracted Driving Laws
Many states have passed legislation that limit or ban the use of cell phones and other distractions while driving in order to improve roadway safety. According to Florida Statutes Section 316.30, motorists are prohibited from manually typing on a wireless communication device (i.e, cell phones, iPads, etc.) on text, email, or instant message.
Additionally, law enforcement is permitted to issue citations for drivers who are texting and driving. Section 316.306 also specifically prohibits the use of handheld devices in designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone areas.
There are some exceptions to Florida’s distracted driving laws. For instance, the laws do not apply to:
- Operators of authorized emergency vehicles (police officers, fire department services, or emergency personnel) while they are performing official duties.
- Drivers who are using their devices to report emergency situations, criminal acts, or suspicious activity to law enforcement.
- Drivers who are receiving messages related to the safety, operation, or navigation of their vehicles, such as radio, traffic, or weather alerts.
- Drivers who are using GPS or navigation systems.
- Drivers who are texting using voice-to-text or other hands-free technology.
- Drivers who are operating autonomous vehicles in autonomous mode.
Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident?
We know from experience that even the safest, most defensive drivers can become injured in distracted driving accidents due to other negligent or reckless motorists. If you or a loved one was injured in one of these events, hiring a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney is crucial when it comes to protecting your rights to full and fair compensation.
At the Law Offices of John D. Ameen, we are committed to helping car accident victims recover the right way. Get an experienced, compassionate legal team on your side who will take the burden off your shoulders and bring you peace of mind following a life-changing accident.
Contact our offices at (800) 953-2858 to schedule your free consultation. Our main office is located in Fort Lauderdale and have five additional offices located conveniently throughout the state of Florida.