Distracted driving in southern Florida is undeniably a problem. We’ve all seen drivers texting behind the wheel, applying makeup, eating lunch, or otherwise multitasking rather than focusing solely on the road. This is despite the fact that the dangers of distracted driving are well known.
Drivers who are distracted have slower response times and maybe taking their eyes off the road for extended periods of time, putting them – and other users of the road – at an increased risk for collisions. Many devastating accidents have been caused by drivers who were focused on another task while driving.
In the past few years, Florida residents have reached out to their elected representatives to get changes made. Florida has responded in a few ways:
1) Passing laws.
Florida State Statute 316.305 bans texting and driving across Florida. Police can target distracted drivers who are distracted due to interaction with an electronic device, due to distractions inside the car, due to external distractions, and even due to general distraction.
Unfortunately, some safety experts say Florida’s laws do not go far enough. Some point out that texting and driving is a secondary offense in Florida. This means that a police officer has to be able to pull a driver over for another offense before ticketing them for texting and driving.
2) Creating safe zones.
In 2015, Florida started creating “phone safe zones.” Clearly designated with signs, these are rest areas where drivers can pull over to use mobile devices or in order to take care of other basic tasks before continuing on. By clearly marking these safe zones, authorities in Florida hope to encourage drivers to avoid using mobile devices or texting inside their cars. However, use of these zones is purely voluntary and not all drivers may be making the choice to always use these rest stops instead of driving distracted.
3) Raising awareness.
As a society, we’ve come a long way when it comes to distracted driving. Many public service announcements – some involving celebrities – have been aired across the country, telling drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. In addition, educational campaigns by law enforcement and advocacy groups have highlighted the dangers of texting and driving and other types of distractions. Drivers today are told that distraction doesn’t just mean cell phones – it can mean any activity that removes the driver’s from the wheel, their eyes off the road, or their mind from the drive.
While Florida has been working to reduce distracted driving accidents, it’s clear that there is still a long way to go. As a society, we still need to take steps to prevent unsafe driving in Hollywood, South Florida, and across our state.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to file a legal claim against the driver. This sends a strong message that distracted driving is not allowed and ensures you have the financial resources to pay for medical care and other costs related to your accident. If you have been injured in a car crash anywhere in South Florida and need to speak to an attorney, contact Flaxman Law Group. Our offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami are open to plaintiffs in need of legal advice and representation and our first consultation with you is always free.