Do I Drive Distracted?
In the last few years, Florida’s public officials have been very proactive in mounting awareness campaigns about the potential dangers of distracted driving. While texting and driving is the most common form, in theory anything that takes one’s attention off the road can be a distraction, and if the distraction lasts long enough, it can put you on the proverbial hook for any injuries you cause to another person. It can sometimes be difficult to detect whether you routinely drive distracted – but it may one day save you considerable time and trouble.
Not Only Texting & Driving
There are three types of distraction that can happen to a person: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction, as one might imagine, involves taking one’s eyes off the road; manual distraction means your hands are off the wheel; and cognitive distraction is thinking about anything other than driving – what the average person might call “zoning out.” While texting and driving involves all three types, it is not the only behavior that does – and it is far from the only behavior that causes auto accidents.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2017, approximately 10 percent of all fatal crashes on U.S. roads involved distracted driving. However, only 14 percent of the drivers in such accidents had their cell phones in use. So many other types of distraction are possible on the road, and it is crucial for every driver to be aware of what can happen any time they take their eyes off the road. Anything from talking to your passengers, to eating, to rubbernecking at an accident and beyond can avert your attention just enough for something to happen.
Do Not “Multitask”
It is very common for the average driver to insist that they are simply “multitasking,” and that their attention is not sufficiently distracted to pose a potential danger. In reality, studies show that drivers who act this way are more likely to cause an accident – though this does not mean they are more likely to be legally negligent. Sometimes accidents are not preventable, through a combination of factors; if an accident or injury could have been prevented, however, then legal negligence is on the proverbial table.
While texting and driving is a moving violation, any kind of distracted driving can be used against you in a civil lawsuit. If you cause an accident while distracted, and injure someone severely, they can file a lawsuit against you to try and get their medical bills covered. While Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that normally accidents end with the parties filing insurance claims under their required personal injury protection insurance, an injured party can sue if there has been “significant and permanent” injury pushing their bills over $10,000.
Contact A Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer
While obviously, everyone has brief moments where one might look away from the road, those moments can add up, and cause genuine danger to oneself and those around them. If you have been in an accident with a distracted driver, or if you fear you have injured someone while driving distracted, calling a Tampa car accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can be helpful for you to understand your options. Call us today for a free consultation.