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Distracted Driving Accidents In Florida

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Florida highways are busy and high-risk, and unfortunately, they are made more risky by people who do other things besides drive when they are behind the wheel. Distracted driving is by no means unique to Florida, but on Tampa’s busy roads, with Tampa’s levels of tourism, there are factors present that might cause more accidents than would happen elsewhere. If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you need to understand what your options are before you settle for less or settle before all the facts are known.

The Problem Is Serious

Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that in 2015 (the most recent available year), approximately 10 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths occurred in crashes involving a distracted driver, with roughly 16 percent of all car crash injuries being related to distracted drivers as well. Younger drivers in particular are adversely affected, with those under 20 having the highest proportional rate of fatal crashes. Young drivers are also the most likely to engage in ‘risky’ behavior while driving, such as turning one’s head to look at something in the car, texting or using the phone, putting on makeup, and the like.

There are three types of distraction, though most of the press around distracted driving focuses on visual disturbances. Visual distraction is fairly self-explanatory, manual distraction is physically removing one’s hands from the wheel, and cognitive distraction is when one ceases to focus their attention on the act of driving. Any action can encompass more than one of these types, and the result can be serious – statistics show that taking one’s attention off the road for 5 seconds is enough to traverse an entire football field. The potential to cause an accident in such a time span is frighteningly high.

Calling & Texting

The behind-the-wheel behavior that gets the most attention by far is texting and driving, and it is for good reason; texting is one of the few actions that encompasses all three types of distraction, meaning the potential to cause an accident is about as high as it can be short of driving with one’s eyes closed. Florida passed its texting and driving ban a few years ago, though it is important to keep in mind that talking on one’s cell phone while driving is not, as of this writing, against the law. It is not advisable behavior since it still creates a fairly significant distraction, but there is currently no law banning the practice.

If you have been harmed by a driver who was texting at the time of your accident, it may be helpful to raise that with the insurer, as this does count as breaking the law. Florida recognizes a concept called negligence per se that states that if someone breaks a law and injures another person, that person may be able to show that lawbreaking as proof of negligence, instead of having to establish it painstakingly, step by step. This is not always possible, depending on the specific facts of your situation, but it is worth investigating the possibility.

Ask A Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer For Help

Accidents involving distracted drivers can be especially difficult because they are so very preventable. If you have been hurt due to someone else’s distracted driving, contacting an experienced Tampa auto accident lawyer can be the first step toward getting the compensation you need to pay your bills. The Rinaldo Law Group has handled these cases for years, and we are happy to try and assist you with yours. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Resources:

cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.305.html

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