For years, public safety officials have warned us of the risk associated with drinking and driving. In the last decade, a new scourge to public roadway safety has emerged. Distracted driving has now gained notoriety as an increasing number of people are using electronic devices while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving is defined as when a driver’s attention is mostly focused on something other than driving. This can be exceptionally dangerous. In fact, researchers have shown that a distracted driver who’s using a cellphone is at least four times as likely to become involved in a wreck as someone who is not distracted.
Many people erroneously believe using a cellphone is the only way a driver can be distracted. That’s not true. Drivers moving around inside the car searching for a dropped object, reaching into the back seat or simply turning to face other occupants and diverting their attention from the road are considered equally distracted.
Here are just a few examples of distracted driving:
— Eating and drinking
— Adjusting a radio or fiddling with any electronic device
— Adjusting mirrors, air vents, windows, etc.
— Interacting with a moving object in the vehicle such as a pet
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and many people might be tempted to say to say that they never engage of any of those activities while behind the wheel. Then consider this statistic: Distracted driver research now shows that as many as half of motorists driving on U. S. roads have used a cellphone while driving within the last 30 days. Perhaps even more disturbing, one in seven drivers has admitted to texting while driving.
Florida drivers suffer injuries and personal property loss each year to car accidents caused by drivers who are either distracted or impaired. Motorists who believe they may have been injured by an impaired or distracted driver should consult with their attorney regarding filing a civil lawsuit. In some cases, and injured victim can be awarded monetary compensation for their injuries and lost wages.
Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “Distracted Driver Research” Jul. 28, 2014