DISTRACTED DRIVING INJURY
Distracted driving has become a contributing factor or proximate cause behind an increasing number of significant automobile accidents. We often see distracted drivers weaving in and out of their traffic lanes, ignoring traffic devices like stop signs and speed limits, or bing involved in preventable rear-end collisions. Texting and driving has only recently become a mainstream concern to the general public as such conduct is generally considered acceptable behavior.
The danger associated with texting and driving often fails to truly hit home until a tragedy arises as a result. I just the past year, a young Clearwater woman lost her life when a driver distracted by checking his cellphone proceeded through a red light striking the unfortunate woman in the intersection. In Tampa, a driver lost control of his automobile and veered off the street and plowed into a home. Fortunately no one was killed but the driver who later admitted to checking a text message illustrated just how harmful this conduct is to the general public.
Many experts have opined that texting and driving may be more dangerous than drinking and drinking. However, perception often lacks far behind reality and distracted driving does not have the social stigma attached to such conduct as drinking and driving does.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Driver distraction occurs when the driver’s focus is on something other than the primary task of driving. This increases the risk of driver error and crash involvement. Research has shown that drivers who talk on a cell phone while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. Although cell phones attract the most attention, there are many in-vehicle and external sources of driver distraction.
WHAT ACTIONS ARE CLASSIFIED AS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
- Eating and drinking
- An outside person, object or event: Animal, a crash scene, or road construction
- Adjusting a radio, cassette, compact disc player, I-pod, or GPS device
- Other occupant in the vehicle: talking, arguing, or assisting a child
- A moving object in the vehicle: a pet, insect, or an object falling off the seat
- Smoking related: lighting, smoking, or dropping a cigarette
- Cell phone related: dialing, talking, listening, texting, or reaching for a cell phone
- Other object brought into the vehicle: reaching for a water bottle, purse, or sun glasses
- Using a device integral to the vehicle: adjusting mirrors, lights, or seatbelt
- Other distraction: a medical issue, looking at a map or road sign, sleepy or fatigue
- Inattentive thought or lost in thought
Driver distraction has increased nationwide, particularly with the proliferation of cell phones utilized while driving. The following are factors that had led to this:
- Technological advances over the last 20 years
- A perceived need to be connected to work and home at all times
- A perception that driving is unproductive, second nature task
- People trying to accomplish more in less time
WHO ARE OUR DISTRACTED DRIVERS?
- Research shows that over half the U.S. drivers report having used a cell phone in the past 30 days.
- One in seven admits to text messaging while driving.
- Forty-six percent (46%) of sixteen and seventeen year old drivers say they text while driving
- Forty-eight percent (48%) of eighteen to twenty-four year old drivers text message while driving.
- Sixty-seven percent (67%) of twenty-five to thirty-four year old drivers talk on their cell phones while driving.
- Sixty-five (65%) of drivers with a college education talk on their cell phones while driving. The higher the level of education, the higher use of the cell phones.
HOW MANY STATES HAVE LAWS LIMITING THE USE OF CELL PHONES?
- Five states and the District of Columbia have laws banning handheld cell phones for all drivers.
- No state completely bans all types of cell phone use, hand held and hands free.
- Twenty-one (21) states and the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.
- Seventeen (17) states and the District of Columbia prohibit school bus drivers from all cell phone use when passengers are present.
- Currently, Florida has no law prohibiting or restricting drivers from sending text messages or using cell phones while operating an automobile.
HOW MANY STATES HAVE LAWS AGAINST TEXT MESSAGING?
- Fourteen (14) states ban text messaging while driving, including the District of Columbia.
- Ten (10) states prohibit text messaging while driving by novice drivers.
- One (1) state restricts school bus drivers from text messaging while driving
- Once again, Florida is a state where text messaging and driving is not against the law.
In the past year over 120,000 drivers were estimated to be sending a text message or using their phone while driving, and over 660,000 had their phone to their ear at any moment while driving. The scariest part about these statistics is they are on the rise, not decreasing. Using your phone while driving is unsafe, and unfortunately many drivers understand just how dangerous this conduct is, but continue to still text and drive. If we know how dangerous such conduct is, why is it so hard to put a stop to this deadly habit? When the phone is in the vicinity of your car and you hear it ring, the first thought is “who is calling/texting me?” and because we are so curious and impatient we will instantly reach for our cell phone and look. The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” has never been truer.
Studies have demonstrated just how dangerous the act of texting and driving is. On study displayed that the act of sending a text takes the driver’s attention off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Imagine driving while covering your eyes for an excess of four seconds. This is indeed a very troubling thought. No text message, email or phone call is so important to place a life in jeopardy.
VICTIM OF DISTRACTED DRIVING?
The Dolman Law Group is committing to zealously fighting to obtain fair compensation for victims who have suffered physical harm as a result of a distracted driver. A driver who causes a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident due to cell phone use may be subjected to punitive damages. We employ a full-time investigator in order to seek witness statements relating to automobile accident and motorcycle accident cases. Further, we seek information relating to the at-fault party’s cellular phone number and provider so we may request phone records via a subpoena if we are unsuccessful in determining whether a phone was used at the time of impact.
If you have been injured as a result of the negligence exhibited by a distracted driver, please call us at (727) 451-6900 or email email@example.com, for a free consultation. The attorneys at the Dolman law Group handle injury claims throughout the State of Florida and maintain an active statewide litigation practice.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury and civil trial law firm based in Clearwater, Florida. Located in central Pinellas County (ten minutes from St. Petersburg and fifteen minutes from Tampa), the attorneys at Dolman Law Group represent only consumers and never will or have ever represented an insurance carrier. We routinely litigate personal injury claims throughout the State of Florida and actively represent plaintiffs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota and Polk County. Dolman Law Group serves the following cities; Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Ozona, Tarpon Springs, Tampa, Carrolwood, New Tampa, Oldsmar, Trinity, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson, Spring Hill, Bradenton and Sarasota.