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Florida Distracted Driving Collisions

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Distracted driving has been a problem on the nation’s roadways since the automobile became a common form of transportation. In the 21st century, however, distracted driving has become a heightened risk to everyone on the nation’s roadways as a result of the increased use of handheld electronic devices.

Distracted driving includes anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the roadway, hands off the wheel, or mind off of the task of driving. Historically, distracted driving has included things such as grooming and eating while driving as well as talking to occupants of the vehicle or sight-seeing while driving. In today’s digital age, however, handheld electronic devices have added to those traditional distractions – with deadly results. Government statistics tells us that 3,331 people lost their lives, and another 387,000 were injured in a distracted driving collision in 2011. In fact, ten percent of all injury crashes were blamed on distracted driving in 2011 — and the numbers are climbing.

Not surprisingly, young drivers are at the highest risk of being injured, or killed, in a distracted driving collision. Statistics tells us that 21 percent of drivers in the 15-19-year-old age group who were killed in distracted driving crash in 2011 were distracted by the use of a cell phone. Teenage drivers admit that 25 percent of them respond to, or send, a text message while driving every time they get behind the wheel. Teenager drivers are not the only ones texting while driving though. Parents admit that ten percent of them have extended text message conversations while driving as well.

To put the dangers of texting while driving in perspective consider this – experts tell us that it takes the average person 4.6 seconds to send or respond to a text message. That amount of time is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at highway speeds without the driver’s eyes on the roadway!

Though many states have completely banned the use of handheld electronic devices, Florida is not one of them. Using a handheld cell phone is still legal in Florida; however, texting while driving will be illegal in Florida as of October 1st of this year. The law, however, is what is known as a “secondary offense” law, meaning that a police officer cannot stop a driver solely because he or she thinks the driver is texting while driving. The driver can only be cited for texting while driving if actually stopped for another reason.

eld cell phone is still legal in Florida; however, texting while driving became illegal in the State of Florida as of October 1, 2013. The law, however, is what is known as a “secondary offense” law, meaning that a police officer cannot stop a driver solely because he or she believes the driver is texting while driving. A driver can only be cited for texting while driving if actually stopped for another reason.

Despite the fact that Florida has yet to implement strict laws relating to the use of cell phones and driving, motorists must take the risks of distracted driving, and particularly the use of cell phones while driving, seriously.