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Teens and Distracted Driving: What You Need to Know

Teen driver distracted by phone

As many of us know, distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Car accidents involving distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019 alone, a 10% increase from 2018 according to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute( CHOP Research Institute.) Teenagers are more at risk to be involved in distracted driving accidents because of their lack of driving experience. CHOP Research Institute reports that in 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting while driving during the past month.

What is Distracted Driving?

By law, texting while driving includes composing, sending, and reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle. This legal definition includes checking social media and searching for something such as directions on a cell phone while driving. When people text, email, use their social media or even use the search function while driving, it’s a cognitive distraction. Unsurprisingly, all of these factors can be a recipe for a car crash.

It’s Not Just Texting…

A study released by DriverEd.com in 2019 found that 55% of surveyed participants admit to checking social media while behind the wheel and 25% said they’ve even recorded a video behind the wheel. With the rise in popularity of TikTok, it is easier than ever for people to record themselves.

If you regularly view TikToks, then you have likely seen a video taken while a person was driving. These videos tend to have a more confessional feel to them. It may be obvious in the video that they are actively driving, it may not be.

Just because there’s a new media that’s exciting doesn’t make it any less dangerous to engage in when actively driving. Your attention is still split between your camera and the road even if your hands are on the wheel.

Consequences of Texting While Driving in Florida

When you text and drive, you risk your safety and the safety of others on the roads. You also risk financial loss and legal consequences. In late 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis passed what is referred to as “Florida’s Ban on Texting While Driving Law,” with the intent to improve roadway safety for all people.

This law makes texting while driving a primary offense. This means that a police officer can pull you over if they suspect you are texting. The consequences for your first texting while driving ticket will be a 30 dollar fine. You’ll face a 60 dollar fine and 3 points on your driver’s license if you get the same ticket within five years.

5 Ways You Can Prevent Distracted Driving

  1. Put your phone on silent before you start driving: By putting your phone on silent, you are helping to remove the urge to pick up the phone while you are driving if you hear your phone ring.
  2. Put your phone out of reach: If you are concerned about fighting the urge to use your phone while you drive, put your phone out of reach somewhere like in your glove box, back seat, or trunk before you start your car.
  3. Pause any active text or email correspondences you may be having before you start driving: This is especially important for teen drivers. Dosomething.org reports that 9 in 10 teens expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less, which puts pressure on them to respond while driving.
  4. Have your directions pulled up before you start driving: In a situation where you are driving through an unfamiliar area or you are driving to a location you’ve never been to before, have for example your destination entered into your Google Maps so that you have your directions ready to look at before you start driving.
  5. Educate others about the dangers of distracted driving: If you’re a parent and you have a child who is just learning how to drive or maybe is a new driver, take it upon yourself to educate them about the dangers of distracted driving. Additionally, as a parent, you should be setting an example for your children by not engaging in distracted driving behaviors. If you catch someone engaging in distracted driving behaviors, don’t be afraid to call them out. You may be saving their lives by doing so.

Hancock Injury Attorneys – Tampa Car Accident Lawyers

If you have recently been injured in an accident because of a distracted driver, get in touch with us today. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve. Mike Hancock of Hancock Injury Attorneys has over 30 years of experience helping clients just like you. Call Hancock Injury Attorneys at (813) 915-1110 or contact us online for a free case consultation.