One text could end your life – or someone else’s

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nine people are killed and 1,153 are injured every day in the United States due to a distracted driver. In 2012, 421,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents, which was an increase of 9% over the previous year.

Types of Distractions When Driving

According to the CDC, there are three basic types of distractions: visual, manual and cognitive. Each type of distraction presents its own dangers, and increases your risk of having an accident.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, and can include things such as:

  • Looking at a GPS
  • Reading
  • Staring out the window
  • Turning around to talk with a backseat passenger

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions occur whenever you take one or both hands off the wheel to perform another activity such as:

  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions happen whenever you take your mind off of driving by daydreaming or focusing on conversations with other passengers. Even things such as disciplining children or paying attention to a pet in your car can result in a cognitive distraction.

Text Messaging Most Dangerous

Out of all the distractions out there, texting while driving is the most dangerous because it results in a visual, manual and cognitive distraction at the same time. Drivers who are texting at speeds of 55 miles per hour take their hands and eyes off the wheel for approximately five seconds, which is long enough to travel the length of entire football field. Studies have shown the reaction time of individuals who were reading or sending a text message to be much slower than what it would be if that person intoxicated.

Florida Statute regarding distracted driving

Recognizing the dangers of texting and driving, the Florida legislature enacted state statute 316.305 in 2013, making it illegal to text and drive anywhere within the state. This law also makes it possible for crash victims to subpoena wireless communications records for the purpose of determining whether or not a driver was texting. Those found guilty of texting and driving may be issued a citation in accordance with Section 318 of the Florida Statute.

To raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, the National Safety Council has declared April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month nationwide. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a distracted driver, please contact us to determine if there is a remedy available under Florida law.