We have all seen it; you glance at the car speeding down the road next to you and see the driver is texting. And while many people write it off as “something everyone does,” texting and driving is dangerous.
Why is texting and driving dangerous?
It is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do behind the wheel. That is because texting and driving distracts on three levels:
- Visually: It causes you to take your eyes off of the road and the other cars around you.
- Manually: It causes you to take one or both hands off of the steering wheel.
- Cognitively: It takes your mind off of driving and leaves you vulnerable to making a mistake.
How does it affect road users across the nation?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than nine people die and more than 1,150 are injured every day in accidents caused by distracted drivers.
At this current rate, texting is becoming nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. Yet, many drivers fail to see the risk and many police officers across the nation are unable to pull over texting drivers unless they also break another law.
The fact is, nearly all drivers have been responsible for this mistake at least once in their life. Many of us have sent at least one “quick” text while we were driving because we thought we would still be in control of our car.
But the facts are clear — even sending a short text or taking your eyes off the road for “just a second” can lead to a serious injury or even a fatality.
How does texting and driving affect Florida drivers?
Distracted drivers were responsible for 12 percent of all crashes in Florida during 2015, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). That is 45,000 crashes in total, which resulted in more than 200 fatalities and more than 39,000 injuries.
According to FLHSMV, the highest number of distracted driving accidents in the state involved drivers aged 20 to 24 years old, followed closely by drivers in the 25 to 29 age range. The third most common age group was drivers 15 to 19 years old.
In total more than 12,000 distracted drivers involved in accidents in Florida during 2015 were under the age of 30.
Texting was a common link between these distracted driving accidents. That makes it one of the biggest threats facing drivers everywhere.
What does Florida law say about texting and driving?
Though texting and driving in Florida is now only a secondary offense (i.e., officers have to pull you over for another reason such as speeding), lawmakers have filed several bills that would make it a primary offense.
This would allow police officers to pull over drivers who they see texting and enforce tougher fines and penalties for anyone found guilty of the offense.
Banning texting and driving could save countless lives. And that is exactly what Sam Coffey of Coffey Trial Law said in his letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel last year.
Read his brief, yet powerful, message on the dangers of texting and driving here, and learn for yourself why this growing epidemic is becoming more dangerous every day.