The Department of Transportation (DOT) in Florida defines distracted driving as any action that causes a driver to turn his or her attention away from operating a motor vehicle. Distractions can include something that causes a driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel, eyes from the road or mind off the task at hand.
State lawmakers are working to decrease the number of motor vehicle accidents that are caused by drivers who are distracted by their cellphones. But despite the laws that include serious consequences for individuals who are guilty of distracted driving, the number of drivers who allow their cellphones to distract them continues to rise.
Florida has earned the unwanted distinction of being the state with the second-worst problem with distracted drivers in the country. The 137 distracted driving accidents averaged per day in the state come out to nearly 50,000 crashes each year. The worst statistic is the 200 Floridians who lose their lives each year as a result of distracted driving.
Florida law prohibits drivers from writing, reading or sending text messages while operating a vehicle. It is also illegal to use a handheld cellphone in both school and work zones.
A survey conducted by the state DOT revealed that two out of three survey participants feel distracted driving is the biggest threat to drivers in the state. The DOT has joined lawmakers in their efforts to curb the problem by:
- Increasing public awareness
- Supporting legislature that discourages distracted driving
- Supporting efforts to better educate officers on investigating suspected distracted driver accident scenes
- Launching enforcement campaigns
Distracted drivers are responsible for thousands of accidents each year on Florida roads and highways. Individuals who become involved in an accident with a distracted driver may benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney.