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A look at the problem of distracted driving in Florida

Car accidents related to distracted driving are steadily increasing in Florida approximately 3 years after Florida enacted its texting while driving ban. Initial data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reveals that there were almost 46,000 distracted driving accidents in Florida during 2015. By year, in 2014, there were just over 42,000 distracted driving accidents; in 2013, just under 40,000 distracted driving accidents; and in 2012, just over 33,500 distracted driving accidents in Florida.

A nearby Florida county had 5,506 distracted driving car accidents during 2015 and greater than half of those accidents involved injuries. Distracted driving accidents in Florida included a variety of different types of distraction such as cell phone use, texting while driving, engaging with passengers, eating, grooming, unsecured pets, adjusting radios or other car-related devices and paying attention to events going on outside the car or daydreaming.

Distracted driving is a danger to drivers, passengers and others, including pedestrians, on roadways. Texting while driving in Florida is a secondary offense which means it is not primary offense police officers will pull drivers over for. Still, when a distracted driver has caused a car accident resulting in injuries and harm, they may be responsible to compensate victims for their injuries. Citations and criminal charges may be used to establish the negligence of a driver following a distracted driving or other type of car accident.

Distracted drivers have liability for their actions on the roadways. It is important or victims of distracting driving accidents to understand that there may be remedies available to help them receive compensation for the physical, financial and emotional injuries they suffer because of a distracted driver.

Source: Bradenton Herald, "Despite Florida texting law, distracted driving crashes keep going up," May 20, 2016

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