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Despite law, Florida has a problem with distracted driving

Several previous posts on this blog have discussed the dangers that distracted drivers in the greater Tampa cause for those with whom they share the road.

In particular, pedestrians, who are naturally more difficult to notice, can easily fall victim to a distracted driver who is not on the lookout for them because they are watching their phones. Moreover, since a pedestrian is unprotected from the blow of a car, pedestrian accidents often result in serious and debilitating injuries.

Although Florida has laws prohibiting texting and driving, it seems that these laws are not having complete success in eliminating this dangerous behavior.

There is little doubt that these laws deter some drivers from using their phones to instant message, check email or surf the web as they speed along; however, according to a recent report, Florida motorists are driving distracted at the rate of over 18 percent of the time. This is above the national average of 17 percent.

To put this statistic in perspective, this means that the average Florida driver spends 18 minutes of every 100 minutes driven looking at their phone. During this 18 minutes, the driver pretty clearly does not have his mind on the road and may not even be physically watching what is going on in front of him.

Perhaps additional, more restrictive laws are needed to curb this sort of behavior. It may also be that authorities need to strictly and consistently enforce the laws that exists, or that the existing laws need to have more of a bite in the form of heftier penalties.

In any event, pedestrians in the Tampa area need to know that if they are hit by a distracted driver, they may have the ability to pursue compensation from her through a civil lawsuit alleging negligence.

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