April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and our Vero Beach car accident lawyers want to encourage everyone to take the time to get educated, spread the word and pledge to maintain focus on the road ahead.
Cell phones in particular are of serious concern. The reality is, not all distractions are created equal.
More than eating or putting on make-up or changing the radio station, cell phones are the primary distraction for drivers. The National Safety Council reports that at any given moment during the day, 9 percent of all drivers are talking on their cell phones. Countless more are texting.
The NSC estimates that about a quarter of all crashes involve some type of cell phone use.
We know that two-thirds of all drivers admitted to talking on their phone while driving in the past 30 days and a third said they do that fairly often, according to a 2011 AAA Foundation survey. Most of those people believed they could safely talk on their phones. They didn’t set out that day to seriously injure or kill someone else.
But they need to know better. This is a great opportunity to get involved. Have a conversation with your parents, your friends, your teenagers and your spouse. Inform that that every text steals their attention for nearly five seconds. Depending on your speed, that could be the length of a football field. Let them know you care about them far too much for them to risk their lives this way.
In the first 10 months of 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation reported that there were more than 2,215 crashes linked to distraction involving electronic devices. At least 150 of those were shown to have been directly caused by texting and driving.
Florida is one of just five states in the country without a ban on texting and driving. Previous attempts to pass such legislation fell flat. Last year, the state Speaker of the House refused to even hear it.
But that could change as legislators are pushing for five different measures that relate to distracted driving. One is a proposed House bill would make texting while driving a secondary offense, while a bill being mulled in the senate would allow drivers who kill someone as a result of texting while driving to be charged with vehicular homicide.
Another ongoing effort compares texting and driving to drinking and driving, and urges drivers to use a “Designated Texter.” It’s simple: If you’re driving, pass your phone off to someone else in the vehicle and have them take charge of the correspondence, as opposed to trying to tap out their own messages while driving.
Encouragingly, many teens interviewed by local media said they are doing this anyway. What’s more, nearly 80 percent of teens responding to a State Farm Insurance survey said they had spoken up about distractions while in the car with a friend who was being less than attentive behind the wheel.
At the end of the day, our Vero Beach accident lawyers know you can’t control the actions of anyone else. But you can take personal responsibility for this problem and take the NCS pledge to drive cellphone free.
Call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, April 3, 2013, United States Department of Transportation
More Blog Entries:
Florida Officials Continue Fight Against Distracted Driving, March 14, 2013, Vero Beach Car Accident Lawyer Blog