Distracted driving has been in the news frequently over the past few years. According to an article in The Times, drivers who use cell phones are four times as likely to cause a car collision as their less distracted counterparts. In fact, researchers have suggested that cell phone use is similar to driving drunk, in the way that it reduces response times and increases the risk of a Florida car accident. Some studies have suggested that hands-free phones do not help, while a Harvard study from 2003 concluded that cell phone use leads to 2, 600 fatalities and 330 000 accidents that lead to at least moderate injuries.
With research like this, it is not surprising that many people associate distracted driving with mobile devices. However, experts and authorities agree that cell phone use is simply the most noticeable form of distracted driving, and it is only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, many behaviors – including common behaviors that are almost impossible to litigate – can lead to distracted driving and Florida pedestrian accidents and traffic accidents. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, distracted driving can include:
1) Eating and drinking while driving.
2) An outside distraction. An animal running across the road, an accident nearby, road work, and other events cause many accidents each year.
3) In-car systems, such as radios, CD players, I-pods, DVD players, GPS devices, and others. Even adjusting a seatbelt or your mirrors can distract you from the road.
4) Other passengers. Helping a child or having an animated discussion with a passenger can distract a driver and cause an accident.
5) Objects moving in the car. Insects, an object rattling in the back seat, a pet loose in the car, or any mobile object in the car is a major distraction and a danger.
6) Smoking. Smoking is bad for your health, but it is also a distraction. The act of smoking, finding a cigarette, lighting a cigarette, or dropping a cigarette can mean taking your eyes off the road.
7) Any object in the car. Fumbling through a purse, trying to open a water bottle while driving, looking through the glove compartment while driving – these are all distractions.
8) Driver fatigue.
9) Medical issues.
10) Being lost. Looking at road maps or signs can distract you from pedestrians and cars around you.
11) Emotional distraction. Highway hypnosis or simply being inattentive can be just as dangerous as any other type of distraction.
12) Mobile devices, such as cell phones and texting devices.
Of course, it is impossible to avoid all of these distractions all of the time. It is inevitable that sudden events or problems crop up on the road and distract us. However, it is also important for drivers to stay aware of all the possible types of distractions which are possible when driving. When drivers are aware of these distractions, perhaps they will be more willing to pull over rather than keep driving distracted. This sort of paradigm shift can help prevent Florida traffic collisions.
If you have been injured in a Florida car accident, call the law offices of the Flaxman Law Group in Hollywood, Homestead, or Miami – whichever office is closer to you. The legal team at the Flaxman Law Group can offer instant support over the phone 24/7 and can also arrange for a free consultation, so that you can discuss your case with an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney.