Nearly everyone will experience a car accident in their lifetime, and it's likely that the crash will involve at least one driver distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016—a figure that rises with each passing year.
Driver Distractions That Lead to Car Accidents
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the safe operation of a vehicle. Distractions can be:
- Visual (eyes off the road);
- Manual (hands off the wheel);
- Cognitive (thinking about something other than the task of driving).
While just one distraction can be dangerous, the most deadly circumstances involve a combination of multiple distractions. For example, a driver annoyed by a rattling soda can in the backseat is cognitively distracted, but they become manually and visually distracted when they reach behind them to stop the noise.
The most common distracting behaviors include:
- Texting. Texting is one of the most hazardous activities a driver can perform since it requires mental, physical, and visual interaction with a device. In the time it takes to send or read a text message, a driver traveling at 55 mph can cover the entire length of a football field—and the driver’s risk of a collision or running off the road increases exponentially in those five seconds. Although texting while driving is illegal in Florida, many drivers continue to type, read, and send text messages from behind the wheel.
- Talking. NHTSA estimates over 481,000 drivers use cell phones while driving during daylight hours—each one of them partially distracted by the action While Florida drivers are permitted to talk on handheld or hands-free cell phones, cell phone use can still be dangerous even if the driver’s eyes are on the road.
- In-car media systems. Many vehicles come equipped with GPS and entertainment systems that require interaction from the driver. Drivers looking for directions on a navigation system, scrolling through their music playlists, or attempting to pair their phones through Bluetooth connections are all neglecting their primary duties.
- Television and internet. Some drivers use their smartphones to do much more than text behind the wheel. As a constant connection to the internet, phones and tablets allow drivers to search the web, read and watch news, play online games, or even watch movies and sports.
- Eating and drinking. The known risks of eating and drinking have been around decades before electronic distractions, and they still play a role in many crashes. Fishing around for a lost morsel of food, cleaning spilled ketchup off of a shirt, or attempting to sip hot coffee all require close attention that a driver might not be able to spare.
- Non-driving activities. Anything not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs a driver's ability to drive safely can be considered a distraction. This includes putting on makeup, shaving, horseplay, attending to children or pets, and anything else that places other road users at risk.
If you were injured in a Florida car wreck, our personal injury attorney knows how to determine whether the other driver was distracted at the time of the crash. Attorney Paul Cavonis will provide you with clear options, fight on your behalf, and secure the compensation you need to recover—and we don't collect anything from you unless we win your case. Simply fill out the brief contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.