The days of driving and focusing solely on the road are gone. Unfortunately, drivers today are doing a myriad of things while behind the wheel. This is called distracted driving and it is the sole cause of countless automobile accidents which result in injuries and death. What exactly is distracted driving? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” Sadly, the NHTSA reported distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. In addition, during daylight hours 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. As you can imagine, the NHTSA reported teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes. As a personal injury litigation attorney,
I have taken numerous depositions of negligent teenage drivers that have admitted to being on social media at the time of an accident. Sadly, they do not appreciate the danger they are causing by deciding to post a Snapchat video or texting while driving. According to the NHTSA, “texting is the most alarming distraction.” In fact, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. If you are traveling at 55 miles per hour you just traveled the length of an entire football field! Now, we cannot just put the blame on teens. I have seen drivers of all ages texting or doing some other activity on their smartphones. I have even seen adult drivers eating and watching movies while driving! So, what can we do to stop this type of behavior? According to the NHTSA:
- Teens: Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.
- Parents: Parents first have to lead by example—by never driving distracted—as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving. Remind your teen driver that in States with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.
- Educators & Employers: Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver, seek the help of a qualified accident attorney in Florida. At LaBovick, LaBovick & Diaz we have a team of qualified attorneys prepared to discuss your case 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Do not forget the consultation is free!