There are many actions that a driver can take while behind the wheel that can lead to an accident. One of the most common actions causing accidents on Florida roadways these days is distracted driving. Here are seven distracted driving statistics you should know about.
Seven Shocking Distracted Driving Statistics
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1. Texting Involves Three Types of Distractions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of distractions:
- Manual distractions involve anything that causes the driver to take his or her hands from the steering wheel.
- Visual distractions involve anything that draws the driver’s eyes from watching the roadway ahead.
- Cognitive distractions involve anything that takes the driver’s mind off the task of driving safely.
While all driving distractions are dangerous, texting is of particular concern as it involves a manual distraction as well as a visual and cognitive distraction. In fact, as explained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the time it takes a driver to read or reply to a text message while traveling at highway speeds, he or she will have traveled the length of a football field without having both hands on the wheel, without looking at the road, and without thinking about driving safely.
Texting while driving has been such a concern in Florida that the state enhanced its texting and driving laws so that police can pull drivers over on suspicion of texting as a primary offense instead of only being able to ticket texting drivers if they have been stopped for a different type of traffic offense first. The enhancement of the state’s distracted driving laws also includes a provision that prohibits the use of a handheld wireless communication device for any reason in a school or work zone.
2. Driver Distractions Don’t Just Impact Vehicle Occupants
The occupants of motor vehicles aren’t the only ones at risk of becoming injured or killed by a distracted driver. About one out of every five fatalities in the U.S. that is caused by a distracted driver is a pedestrian or bicyclist, which gives further context to Florida’s law prohibiting the use of handheld communication devices in school and work zones, as both of those places are likely to present a higher number of individuals using the roadway who are not driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
3. Teen Drivers are at Greater Risk of Distractions
Distracted driving is a factor in nearly 6 out of every 10 fatal accidents involving a teen driver. While much has been said about the dangers of teens texting while driving, texting isn’t actually the greatest distraction facing the nation’s youngest drivers — other teens are. Studies indicate that teens are more likely to be involved in an accident if they have friends in the vehicle with them. The likelihood of an accident increases significantly with each additional teen passenger. This is the reason many states have laws prohibiting teen drivers from having peer passengers in the vehicle for a period of time after obtaining their license.
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4. Unrestrained Dogs in the Car = Major Distraction
The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that 80 percent of people who participated in a recent survey noted that they frequently drive with their pets in the car. However, in spite of the popularity of pets as traveling companions, only 17 percent of the respondents reported that they had provided a safety restraint system for their pet in the car, and 31 percent stated that they have been distracted by their pet while driving.
5. There are Nearly 50,000 Distracted Driving Crashes a Year in Florida
As reported by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), there are more than 48,000 accidents involving distracted drivers in the state each year. These crashes result in roughly 300 deaths, and more than 2,700 serious injuries. These numbers have been slowly ratcheting up in recent years.
6. A Cell Phone Violation Will Significantly Increase Your Insurance Premiums
Just a few years ago, being convicted of a distracted driving violation was associated with an increase of less than 16 percent to the driver’s insurance premiums. However, currently, a cell phone violation can increase your insurance premiums by more than 21 percent, resulting in many cases of several hundred dollars a year in additional insurance costs.
7. Reaching for Something? It’s Best to Wait
Every single thing a driver does while driving that takes his or her mind off the task at hand, his or her hands off the steering wheel, or eyes off the road increases the likelihood of a distracted driving accident. For example, let’s say you dropped your phone on the floor while driving. You glance down to see where it is, and take a hand off the wheel to reach for it. The act of reaching just increased your risk of being in an accident by 800 percent.
As you can tell by these distracted driving statistics, injuries caused by distracted drivers are not at all uncommon. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, reach out right away to discuss your case. You deserve compensation for your injuries.