Fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving rose 3 percent from 2004 to 2008, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. Distractions can come from a variety of sources, both in and out of the car. With so many things, from cell phones to billboards and construction, fighting for drivers’ attention, accidents are bound to happen.
Distracted Driving Is Negligent Driving in Florida and Elsewhere
Unlike some other states, Florida does not yet have a law banning cell phone use while driving. Even without a formal law on the books, however, a distracted driver may be held legally responsible for causing a car accident through negligence. Negligence is the failure to do what is reasonable under the circumstances and breaching the applicable duty of care.
All drivers owe others on the road the duty to operate their cars reasonably and safely. Adequate care requires a driver to stay focused while driving. Using cell phones and other electronics devices while driving significantly diminishes a driver’s ability to react to changing road conditions. A 2009 study by Car and Driver even concluded that texting while driving can be more dangerous than drunk driving.
Cell Phones Aren’t the Only Distraction
Texting while driving gets a lot of news coverage, but distracted driving isn’t just about cell phones. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are three types of driving distractions that increase the chance of an accident:
- Cognitive: A cognitive distraction occurs when a driver takes his or her mind off the tasks required for safe driving. One example of a cognitive distraction is mentally reviewing a fight with a spouse rather than paying attention to the road.
- Manual: A manual distraction involves the driver removing his or her hands from the wheel. Sending a text or grabbing a dropped item are examples of manual distractions.
- Visual: A visual distraction is when the driver takes his or her eyes off of the road. Checking on a screaming child in the back seat or star gazing at night are types of visual distractions.
Distracted driving is a serious concern in the United States. In Florida alone, at least four fatal accidents were directly caused by driver distraction in 2009.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney, like those at Greenberg Stone and Urbano An experienced personal injury attorney will thoroughly evaluate your claim to find out whether the driver’s careless use of a cell phone caused your injuries. For more information, visit us at www.sgglaw.com.