Between 2000 and 2010, the number of fatal Florida car collisions has dropped. In 2002, 3,143 individuals were killed in Florida car accidents. By 2010, that number had declined to 2,563. This is despite the fact that the population of the state has climbed 18 percent and despite the fact that during this period drivers have been more distracted than ever before, with DVD players, GPS devices, texting, mobile devices, and other technology.
In 1995, only about 13 percent of Americans owned cell phones. Today, 80 percent of Americans own them, and this has led to quite a debate about cell phone safety behind the wheel. Many studies have been done proving that cell phone use while driving is risky and increases the risk of a car accident. However, there is no doubt that overall traffic fatalities have been dropping.
What is going on?
Part of the answer may lie in the fact that highway safety systems and laws have improved in the same time period. Seat belt laws, for example, have become stricter in the past two years. Now, police can give out tickets if a driver is not wearing a seatbelt. In fact, drivers can now be pulled over even if that is their only violation.
However, does that mean that drivers are safer – even with cell phones and mobile devices – or do the numbers hide the dangers of distracted driving? Even cell phone companies are advertising that drivers should not use their products while driving. A number of bills have been introduced in Florida, which would make texting and driving or cell phone use while driving illegal. However, none of these bills have passed so far. They have certainly created a lot of debate about the topic of distracted driving. Currently, Florida is one of only two states to have no rules at all about mobile device use. The state does not even require the reporting of cell phone use in Florida car accidents.
According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers who text have a 23 times greater risk of being in a car crash than non-distracted drivers. As well, drivers spend an average of 5 seconds looking at mobile devices when using these devices on the road. On a highway, this means that drivers take their eyes off the road for about the length of a football field – plenty of time to cause a Florida pedestrian accident or car crash.
If mobile devices were banned or restricted, would it make Florida roads safer? Those who believe so point to studies like the one completed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Those who disagree with proposed bills point to the dropping rate of Florida car accidents and to other studies, which suggest that car accidents stayed static in states that have passed cell phone bans.
If you have been in a Florida car accident caused by a distracted driver, these debates can affect your case. Studies show that distracted driving is a reckless behavior, but with no laws in Florida against mobile phone use, you will need an experienced South Florida attorney by your side to help you pursue your case. Contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your case. With law offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami, the Flaxman Law Group has already helped thousands of South Florida car accident victims and personal injury victims. We have extensive experience to aggressively pursue your case.