With the proliferation of cellphone use and texting, distracted driving accidents have increased in Florida and everywhere. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving has caused approximately 10% of fatal car crashes and 15% of injury crashes every year since 2015, and the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that cellphone use alone accounts for nearly 30% of car accidents each year. At Sholtes Law, PLLC, our distracted driving lawyers represent victims of distracted driving accidents in Saint Lucie County and Martin County, working not only to obtain maximum compensation for our clients but also to make our community’s roads safer for all.
What Qualifies as Distracted Driving?
Traffic safety experts classify distracted driving into three primary types—manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distractions involve a driver moving his or her hands from the wheel; visual distractions occur when a driver’s eyes are diverted away from the road; and cognitive distractions are when a driver’s mind wanders away from the task of driving. Texting, for example, involves all three types of distractions. One or both hands are not on the wheel, eyes are on the phone screen, and the mind is thinking about the text. In addition to cellphone use, distracted driving may involve eating while driving, applying makeup, or talking to other people inside the vehicle.
How Likely Is Cellphone Use to Cause a Car Accident?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, text messaging increases the risk of a car accident or near-crash by 23 times, and other recent studies have found that people are as impaaired when they drive and talk on a cellphone as they are when driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yet, driving while on the phone doesn’t carry the same severe penalties as intoxicated driving in Florida. In fact, Florida currently has no restrictions on making or receiving calls or talking on a cell phone while driving, and texting while driving is only a noncriminal traffic infraction, generally resulting in a ticket between $100 and $200.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident in Florida?
While Florida lawmakers and the criminal justice system haven’t taken a particularly strong stance on the issue of distracted driving and cellphone use, you can seek meaningful compensation for injuries caused by a distracted driving accident through the civil court system. Personal injury claims arising from distracted driving accidents can also instigate necessary change by holding at-fault drivers and their insurance companies accountable for the accidents and injuries they cause. It is critical, however, to speak to a Fort Pierce car accident lawyer with experience handling distracted driving claims as soon as possible for the best chance at recovery. In the Fort Pierce, St. Lucie & Martin County area, contact Sholtes Law, PLLC for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights and options.