Florida distracted driving accidents can be caused by other activities
When you are behind the wheel of an automobile, it is vital to keep your attention on what you are doing. This can be especially hard nowadays. The instinct and impulse to look at your smartphone is strong. You are not alone in feeling this way. Smartphones have not only become a part of everyday life; they have consumed it. Shopping, communicating, coordinating with colleagues, friends, and family—all of this is now done on smartphones. These devices have become such an integral part of how people live that it has become virtually impossible to live without them.
However, an exception must be made when you are on the road. No matter how many times you hear the buzzing sound that informs you of a new message or update, you must not grab your phone to read it while on the road. Doing so can have catastrophic consequences.
Distracted Driving is a Problem in Florida
People overestimate their ability to focus on driving while looking at their phones. Indeed, many people do not believe that using their phones while driving is dangerous. A recent survey found that only 37% of drivers believe that the use of their phone makes it harder to drive and that most people think it is okay to send a text message, watch a video, or take a picture while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
This is a problem, and it is getting worse. Drivers feel pressured to reply to work messages immediately. In fact, recent surveys suggest that people feel pressured to respond to any kind of text message they have received. Nearly 59% of iPhone users respond to text messages while driving and over 70% of respondents hold video chats while behind the wheel.
Smartphone use is not the only issue. Distracted driving comes in many forms. Here are some other common activities that drivers engage in rather than pay attention to the road:
- Fiddling with the radio
- Drinking and eating
- Interaction with children in the backseat
- Interaction with unrestrained pets
None of these are harmless actions. And even if you have gotten into the habit of doing them while driving, you should know the danger they pose. For example, drivers who are eating or drinking while behind the wheel are eight times more likely to cause a crash. Just because you have been doing something a long time does not make it safe.
How Big of a Problem is Distracted Driving?
There are many problems in the world, so it is right to ask how big of a problem is distracted driving. To provide a point of comparison, there are 10,000 deaths caused by drunk driving every year while 3,500 deaths can be linked to distracted driving. But here are more facts about distracted driving accidents in Florida:
- There are over 50,000 distracted driving accidents a year in the state
- Nearly 10 people a day are seriously injured because of distracted driving
- Nearly 20% of fatal teen driver accidents are caused by a distracted driver
- 200 Floridians lose their lives each year because of distracted driving
What is Being Done in Florida to Stop Distracted Driving Accidents
It is now illegal to text while driving in Florida. This law went into effect on January 1, 2020. Law enforcement officials now have the power to pull over drivers they suspect of texting and write a texting-and-driving citation.
However, this is not enough. The real work must come from Floridians themselves. The easiest way to prevent Florida distracted driving accidents is to give up old habits that are unsafe. Here are some things you can do to practice distraction-free driving:
- Put your smartphone in your purse, handbag, or pocket—anywhere out of reach
- Never check your phone for text messages, phone calls, or app alerts
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Always drive defensively
- Do not ride with friends and colleagues who use their smartphones while driving
- If you have kids in the back seat of your car, speak to them without turning to look at them
- Never let conversations with passengers pull your attention from the road
- Refuse to engage in any conversation or small talk when driving in inclement weather
If You Have Been Hit by a Distracted Driver
If you have done everything right and another driver has done everything wrong, then you should hold them accountable. You should not allow someone whose negligence and recklessness caused an accident that left you injured and in debt to get away with it. You should hire a lawyer with considerable experience in Florida distracted driving accidents.
If you were in such an accident, you may need serious medical intervention to make you well again. This can lead to lost income and an abundance of medical bills. At some point, you will need to deal with these realities. You will need financial help to get back on your feet, and you may need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you are entitled to.
The insurance company of the distracted driver who hit you should fairly and timely settle your claim. However, it can be difficult to get them to pay what they owe. The insurance company may try to contact you soon after the accident to offer a low-dollar settlement. You should not agree to anything until you have consulted with a lawyer. You should in fact leave all communication and negotiation with the insurance company to your attorney. This is the best way to avoid doing or saying something that will undermine your position.
If the insurance company is unwilling to offer a proper settlement, then you may have to file a lawsuit against the other driver and the insurance company will have to defend it. To be successful, your attorney will need to build a case against the driver who hit you. They will have to prove that their distracted driving led to the accident, that you were injured as a result, and that you are owed a certain amount of money as a consequence.
Proving Your Case
Cases involving Florida distracted driving accidents are not always straightforward. You can take nothing for granted. When building a case for your compensation, your attorney will begin with your recollection of the events that led to the accident. But your memory of how the accident unfolded will not be enough. They will need to gather all the facts related to it.
To do so, your attorney will bring in a private investigation team. These professionals will revisit the scene of the collision and gather any camera footage available. They will also track down witnesses of the accident and interview them. They may be able to find a witness who recorded the collision on their phone camera.
The investigators will also speak to people who may have been in the car with the other driver. Your lawyer will subpoena the phone records of the other driver to determine whether they sent or opened text messages or videos during the time they were on the road.
Your medical experts will assess your condition and the prospects for your recovery. If you have suffered permanent disability because of the accident, a medical expert can describe and explain how it will affect your ability to work and live. Your lawyer will also consult with experts who develop computer simulations based on the evidence left at the scene of the crash.
If you were the victim of a crash caused by a distracted driver, you deserve justice. Hiring the right lawyer can help you get it. Contact a Florida distracted driving accident attorney today.