Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Every day, 9 people across United States lose their lives to distracted driving accidents. In 2015 alone, 10% of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver. This translates to a total of 3,196 fatal crashes.
In the state of Florida, distracted driving may be charged as a non-moving or moving traffic violation. If you are talking on a phone while driving through a school zone, for instance, you can be fined $60 or more as per Florida Statutes 316.306. Similarly, texting while driving is also an offense and can lead to a base fine of $30.
A driver may also face civil litigation for causing a distracted driving accident. If you have been injured in such an accident, for instance, you can seek compensatory damages. This is because the other driver’s negligence caused the crash. However, it is important to hire an auto accident lawyer in Lakeland, FL when pursuing damages.
Common Causes of Distracted Driving
Also known as daydreaming or being lost in thought, general cognitive distraction is one of the leading causes of distraction-related accidents. In fact, it accounts for about 62% of all fatalities involving a distracted driver.
General distraction is often a result of being bored, careless or simply not alert. You may think the road is safe or that driving is the perfect time to think about certain issues. However, it is important to understand that safe driving requires your full and undivided attention. Distractions like being lost in thought can lead to loss of property, injury and death of one or more individuals.
The second most common distraction while driving is phone use. This may be in the form of taking a phone call, dialing a number, sending a text, composing an email or otherwise using the cellphone. Teen drivers in particular are most frequently distracted by texting while driving. Nearly 9% of all fatal crashes across United States from 2012 to 2018 involved texting while driving.
It is precisely for this reason that Florida statutes prohibit texting or typing while driving. If you must take a phone call, look up online information or send a message, it is best to park at a safe place and do it.
Distraction Outside the Car
An event outside the car, such as a crowd of people on the roadside or the occupants of another car, is another major distraction while driving. Such distractions are typically intriguing which is why they may draw away the eyes and attention of a driver. When the distraction is long enough, it may prevent a driver from braking timely or keeping on course.
Passengers in the Car
If you are driving with other passengers, such as friends or family, they may serve as a major distraction. The presence of other passengers leads to social interactions such as speaking to them, looking towards them and gesturing. All of these may take a toll at the driver’s attention, forcing it away from the road. Passengers in the car can lead to all three types of distractions, namely cognitive, visual and manual.
Eating or Drinking
Many drivers routinely take their food and drink on the go. You may have your coffee while driving down to the office in the morning. Or you may occasionally have a takeaway to be had in the car. These constitute serious distractions. Coffee and other drinks, in particular, may spill and become a more dangerous distraction which can lead to accidents.
Using Audio or Adjusting Climate Controls
When you tune the radio or adjust the A/C in your car, both your eyes and hands are drawn away from the road and the wheel. When driving at high speeds, this means that you may not see several hundred meters of the road while you are distracted. Accidents caused by such a distraction can be avoided by slowing down to a very safe speed, then adjusting the settings and resuming driving.
Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney in Lakeland Florida
There are many causes of distracted driving, and they can lead to serious injuries. If you have been involved and injured in such a crash, you may receive damages in lieu of property loss, medical costs and lost wages. Here at Burnetti P.A., our Lakeland car accident lawyers can help you file a claim for compensation after a crash. Contact our personal injury law firm in Lakeland today and schedule a FREE consultation.