Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics
According to the CDC, NHTSA statistics compiled within the past five years indicate that more than 1000 people are injured every day in distracted driver crashes every day. In addition to those injured, approximately 9 people are killed each day in distracted driver crashes. NHTSA reports that in 2017, there were over 3000 deaths attributable to distracted driving.
Types of Distractions that Impact Driving
According to the CDC, driving distractions can include any activities a driver does (while driving) that take his or her attention away from the task of driving. The following are among the activities that can be conducted while driving and are listed as examples of distracted driving on the NHTSA website:
- talking on a cellphone
- eating and drinking
- talking to passengers
- attending to the car radio, stereo, or entertainment system
- attending to the navigation system
Young Drivers and Distracted Driving
Younger drivers under age 20 are the most likely drivers to be involved in distracted driving accidents that involve fatalities, according to the CDC. The CDC reports that distracted driving involving texting or emailing while driving is among behavior that is not uncommon, as reported by high school students who are monitored in the CDC’s national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). In addition, students who texted frequently were also more likely to engage in other driving risks, including not wearing seatbelts, driving with a driver who has been drinking, and drinking and driving, according to the CDC.
Florida Laws that Prohibit Distracted Driving
- Florida Statutes, Section 316.305.
Section 316.305 of the Florida Statutes contains the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law. The stated purpose of this law is to improve roadway safety, prevent crashes and reduce injuries, all with regard to the act of text messaging while driving. The behavior prohibited by this law includes communicating via text message, email or instant message while operating a motor vehicle. Specifically, communicating by typing or entering letters, numbers, symbols, or any other characters into a wireless communications device while driving is not allowed. What is a wireless communications device? Under this statute, wireless communications device include all handheld devices, or devices capable of being used as a handheld devices, that can transmit or receive character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the internet.
- Florida Statutes, Section 316.306
Section 316.306 of the Florida Statutes is another law that prohibits the use of handheld wireless communication devices, specifically in work zones and school zones. Wireless communication devices for this purpose include those that are included as such for purposes of section 316.305. For purposes of section 316.306, examples of wireless communication devices are given, and include:
- cell phones
- two-way messaging devices
- electronic games used or capable of being used as handheld devices
- Penalties and Effective Dates
Section 316.305 and 316.306 of the Florida Statutes went into effect in the summer and fall of 2019, respectively. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the penalties for violating Florida’s distracted driving laws are as follows:
Violations of Section 316.305:
- First offense: non-moving violation, base fine of $30, no points
- Second offense (within 5 years): moving violation, base fine of $60, 3 points
Violations of Section 316.306:
- Any offense: moving violation, based fine of $60, 3 points.
To learn more about distracted driving prohibitions in Florida, or if you are involved in an accident with a distracted driver, contact a Fort Pierce distracted driving lawyer serving St. Lucie and Martin County Sholtes Law, PLLC.