New Study Addresses Distracted Driving in Florida
Distracted driving can cause serious and fatal car accidents in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. How many of those collisions result from the illegal use of cell phones for texting or other forms of wireless communication? According to an article in the Miami Herald, “Florida drivers are among the most dangerous menaces on the road, ranking second-worst in the nation for being distracted while behind the wheel.”
That information comes from a recent study that assesses distracted driving risks on a state-by-state basis. When drivers are distracted, whether as a result of texting or simply eating a snack, crashes can occur.
Florida Drivers May Use Cell Phones More Often on the Road than Other Drivers
One of the data points in the study concerned cell phone use on the road. In total, the study reported that approximately 92 percent of American drivers who own cell phones are using them while they are behind the wheel—to talk, to text, and/or to send other forms of electronic communication. In that category, Florida scored 49th out of 50 U.S. states. It was only ahead of Louisiana, where drivers use cell phones behind the wheel even more frequently than they do in Florida.
In addition to cell phone use behind the wheel, other types of distractions are also responsible for motorists getting into collisions across the state of Florida. Indeed, Florida ranked 39th overall for safest driving (out of 50 states).
Understanding Distracted Driving Risks on the Road
When we hear about a distracted driving accident these days, many of us assume that the driver was using a cell phone or was texting while attempting to pay attention to the road. While these are common distractions for Florida motorists, it is important to understand that there are many different kinds of distractions that can lead to an accident. As such, just because another driver was not using a cell phone at the time of the crash does not mean that she or he is not liable for the collision due to his or her distracted driving.
According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three primary types of distractions that affect drivers:
- Visual distractions: these are anything that leads to the driver taking his or her eyes off the road, from texting to looking at a map;
- Manual distractions: these are anything that leads to the driver taking his or her hands off the wheel, such as holding a cell phone to send a text or reaching for a snack in the passenger seat; and
- Cognitive distractions: these are anything that leads to the driver taking his or her mind off the task of driving, which can include talking to other passengers or even thinking about something beyond the task of driving.
To be clear, distracted driving does not have to involve a cell phone or another type of technology. A driver may be liable for an accident even if her distractions were cognitive in nature.
Discuss Your Case with a West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by distracted driving, you should learn more about filing a claim for compensation by speaking with a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer about your case. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC to discuss your options.