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. In fact, CHOP Research Institute also reports that in 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the immediate past month.
What is Distracted Driving?
Under the law, texting while driving includes composing, sending, and reading text messages or other digital correspondances on a cell phone 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; they take their mind off the task at hand, their hands off the steering wheel and their eyes off the road. 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. The recent rise in popularity of social media platforms such as TikTok and functions on existing social media platforms like Instagram Reels and Snapchat stories make it easier than ever for someone to record themselves with the hopes of making the next viral video.
If you are someone who regularly views TikToks, Instagram Reels, or Snapchat stories, then you have likely seen a video taken while a person was behind the wheel. 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. Even if both of your hands are on the wheel while you are driving while you take a video, your attention is still split between your camera and the road.
Consequences of Texting while Driving in Florida
On top of risking your own safety, the safety of anyone else that may be with you in the car, and the safety of others on the roads, you also are risking financial loss and legal consequences when you choose to text and drive. 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, which means that a police officer can pull you over if they suspect you are using a hand-held device to text while you are driving. The consequences for your first texting while driving ticket will be a 30 dollar fine. If you receive another ticket for the same offense within five years, then you’ll be facing a 60 dollar fine and 3 points on your driver’s license.
5 Ways You Can Prevent Distracted Driving
- 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.
- Put your phone out of reach: If you are particularly concerned about lighting 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.
- 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. If you are in the middle of for example a text conversation with a friend or an email correspondence with your boss, make sure to let them know that you are about to get behind the wheel and that you’ll get back to them when you’ve reached your destination.
- 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 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.
- 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 while behind the wheel. If you catch a family member, relative, friend, or loved one engaging in distracted driving behaviors while behind the wheel, don’t be afraid to call them out on their distracted driving; you may be saving their lives by doing so.
Hancock Injury Attorneys – Tampa Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in an accident because of a distracted driver, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Mike Hancock of Hancock Injury Attorneys has over 30 years of experience helping clients just like you receive the compensation they rightfully deserve for their personal injury claim. Call Hancock Injury Attorneys at (813) 915-1110 or contact us online for a free case consultation.