While Florida and other jurisdictions have continuing to take measures against texting and driving, it seems that, at least according to recent statistics, distractions behind the wheel continue to be a deadly problem on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, as of two years ago, just under 10 percent of all fatal accidents involved a distracted driver. In raw numbers, this means that over 3,150 people in 2017 died due to distracted driving.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem in Florida and across the United States. There are so many distractions that can affect a person's driving. Besides the distractions caused by typical activities, like eating, playing music, putting on makeup, etc., cell phones have become the major driving distraction in recent years. Our state, like many other states, is passing laws trying to combat the use of cell phones while driving to help prevent accidents.
Last week's post on this Florida-based personal injury legal blog discussed the rights that individuals have when they legally cross roads in crosswalks. Crosswalks are designated areas, often marked with paint, where pedestrians may cross from one side of a road to the other without fear of vehicle incursion. Generally, when a pedestrian is legally in a crosswalk all traffic must yield to them to allow them safe passage to the other side of the street.
Many roads and streets in Hillsborough are marked with crosswalks. A crosswalk is a portion of a roadway where a pedestrian may legally cross. Often, crosswalks are marked by parallel lines in which pedestrians may walk from one side of a street to the other, and often crosswalks are located at or near intersections.
According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6,000 people lost their lives in pedestrian-vehicle accidents in the United States in 2016. Almost 130,000 more victims suffered injuries in collisions with vehicles. By these statistics, pedestrian crashes kill an individual every 90 minutes in our country. Residents of Florida know all too well that these often preventable collisions occur in the Sunshine State, but it is often individuals from certain demographic groups that are more likely to be harmed in crashes with cars.
Crossing a street should not be a dangerous activity, but an unfortunate number of individuals are hurt and killed each year when reckless and negligent drivers fail to uphold their duties to act reasonably. Just recently a 46-year-old man lost his life while he was attempting to cross State Road 60 in Mulberry, Florida.
Anywhere that automobiles and pedestrians cross paths there is the chance that accidents may occur. When a car or other motor vehicle collides with a person, the individual on foot often suffers serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries. In Florida, drivers have a duty to act reasonably when behind the wheels of their cars to prevent these often tragic situations.
It is not uncommon for a Florida driver to have this frustrating experience. After parking their vehicle and going into a store or restaurant, they return to their automobile only to find that someone hit them and caused their car damage. Even if the damage is minor, they may be further angered by the fact that the responsible party drove off without leaving their contact information or a note.
Pedestrians are a common sight in Florida, especially when the weather is pleasant, as it is much of the year in the Sunshine State. Moreover, many major cities in the state aim to be pedestrian-friendly. Pedestrians have every right to be out and about.
As readers of this blog know, we have been following the Florida Legislature's efforts to toughen the state's laws which prohibit distracted driving. Since 2013, texting and driving has been illegal in Florida, but police are only allowed to write a ticket if they have evidence of another traffic violation.