Florida drivers are among the worst in the country, according to a new state-by-state analysis by EverQuote.
The findings are especially troubling when you consider the details on texting-and-driving, which is currently still only a secondary offense in Florida, meaning law enforcement officers must observe some other offense (i.e., speeding, swerving, running a red light) in order to cite a driver for a violation. Even then, the fine schedule is so small it hardly qualifies as a deterrent.
The EverQuote analysis found that in Florida:
- 44 percent of drives involve the use of a phone;
- 38 percent of drives involve a motorist who is speeding;
- 19 percent of drives contain some type of aggressive acceleration;
- 32 percent of drives involve some type of harsh braking;
- 15 percent of drives contain some degree of poor turning.
The app gleans this data from numerous components inside the phone, including the accelerometer, device on/off screen, GPS and the gyroscope. A speeding event, for example, would be noted in cases where the vehicle’s speed is higher than the estimated safe speed of the road. Phone use, meanwhile, would be recorded if the screen was on and unlocked, the phone was being moved in a way that indicates it is in a person’s hand and the vehicle is moving faster than a minimal speed.
This type of data, practically impossible to gather in an era before cell phones, sheds interesting light on driving habits from state-to-state.
Florida drivers rank No. 2 in the country for having the most distracted drivers behind the wheel, with only Louisiana ranking worse.
Although an EverQuote spokesman called revelations regarding careless and complacent drivers “shocking,” our Orlando car accident lawyers aren’t all that surprised. We routinely handle cases of car accident victims who suffered needlessly because of another driver’s inability to simply put the phone down and focus on the road. The true wonder is how the number of crashes and fatalities on Florida roads isn’t higher. We do know it has risen notably in the last two years, and these findings support the theory that the proliferation of smartphones is largely to blame for this uptick – especially when you consider that we have tighter laws and safer cars.
In terms of overall safety, Florida ranked No. 39.
The truth of the matter is if you are behind the wheel of a car, there is never a good time to check Facebook, take selfies, type, talk, text or tweet. Florida is one of only four states that does not consider texting while driving a primary offense (the current law is codified in F.S. 316.305), though some lawmakers have sought to change this. None have thus far gained enough momentum to reach the governor’s desk.
This month, the Florida Highway Patrol engaged in a week-long initiative to drive down the number of serious bodily injuries and fatal crashes on state highways, with traffic enforcement priorities including speeding, seat belt use and distracted driving/ texting.
Although talking on a cell phone is dangerous – even if you are using a hands-free device – texting is considered especially hazardous because it requires manual, visual and cognitive abilities to engage. These are all essential functions for driving, and no one is nearly as great at multi-tasking as they would like to believe.
If you are injured in an Orlando car accident, our injury lawyers can help.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Texting junkies: Florida’s distracted drivers rank second-worst in U.S., April 19, 2017, By Linda Robertson, The Miami Herald
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