How Distracted Driving Can Lead To Serious Car Accidents
Car accidents are often the result of driver negligence. One of the more common forms of such negligence is distracted driving. This broadly refers to any situation where a driver’s attention is not fully on the road for some reason. For example, if the driver is looking at their smartphone or fiddling with their stereo, even that momentary distraction can lead to a potentially catastrophic accident.
Distracted driving is enough of a problem that in 2019, the Florida Legislature adopted a statewide ban on “texting while driving.” More precisely, the law forbids anyone from operating a motor vehicle “while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication.”
In other words, you are not allowed to text, email, or engage in any other interaction with your smartphone while you are actively driving your car. The ban does not apply to “stationary” or parked vehicles. And there are numerous exceptions made for interactions like using your vehicle’s navigation system or even using a voice-only interface to communicate. But the general purpose of the law is fairly simple to understand–do not operate any handheld devices while driving.
Distractions Reduce a Driver’s Reaction Time
A driver who causes an accident due to texting while driving can find themselves as a defendant in a personal injury case. Yet there are other distracted driving behaviors that may not technically break the law yet may be cited as proof of negligence in a civil lawsuit. For instance, if a parent is driving while trying to settle down unruly children, that may create a distraction that leads to an accident. Even if such behaviors are considered “normal” and non-criminal, when they cause an accident, the driver can still be held legally responsible.
A key reason that distracted driving is so problematic is that a distraction, regardless of the source, often cuts into a driver’s reaction time. Put another way, the longer it takes a driver to recognize there is a hazard up ahead, such as another car or a pedestrian, the less time they have to bring their vehicle to a safe stop. Indeed, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ own figures suggest that “[e]ven a focused driver going 50 mph will travel nearly the length of a football field before coming to a complete stop.”
Speak with a Parkland Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you are injured in a car accident and you suspect a distracted driver was to blame, you need to act promptly to protect your legal rights. First, you should always call the police and obtain an official accident report. Second, you should always take down the other driver’s contact and insurance information. And third, you need to contact an experienced Coral Springs car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call the trial attorneys at Lyons & Snyder today to schedule a free consultation.