In recent years, it has become very clear that we have a distracted driving problem in the United States. In 2011 alone, there were 3,300 deaths and 387,000 injuries resulting from car crashes caused by a distracted motorist. This is a huge amount of people whose lives were cut short or who may have suffered serious injuries from which they will never be able to recover.
Our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys know that almost everyone is aware of the dangers of distracted driving, and especially of the dangers of cell phone use. Thirty-nine out of the 50 states plus D.C. have a complete ban in place preventing all drivers from texting and another 10 states plus D.C. have a ban in place prohibiting cell phone use without a hands-free device. Unfortunately, Florida isn’t one of the states with a ban.
Some other states without complete bans also have restrictions, especially for teen or commercial drivers. There are also tons of public education and outreach campaigns including Distracted Driving Month and the Designated Texter public outreach campaign in Florida.
The vast majority of drivers in the U.S. have responded to surveys indicating they believe texting and driving is dangerous and should be banned. For example, 74 percent support a ban on hand-held cell phone use while 94 percent support a ban on texting while driving.
With all of this support for bans, widespread acknowledgement of the dangers of distracted driving and extensive education and outreach, some might question why so many people are being injured or killed by distracted driving crashes. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that almost everyone takes the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach when it comes to texting/talking and driving.
Hundreds of Thousands of Drivers Are on Their Phones Right Now
According to a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is a huge discrepancy between people’s attitudes and their behaviors when it comes to texting and driving. For example, despite the widespread beliefs in cell phone limitations and bans, between 24 and 28 percent of drivers indicated they were willing to initiate a call when driving and between 49 and 52 percent said they’d answer one.
This adds up to a lot of drivers texting or talking on their phones. In fact, NHTSA indicated that at any given daylight moment, there may be 660,000 drivers throughout the United States using their cell phones at the same time as they are operating a vehicle.
When you consider these hundreds-of-thousands of drivers driving around right now focused on their phone and not on the road, it quickly becomes clear why there are thousands of deaths and injuries each year. These drivers endanger themselves and others and this type of behavior should be stopped through tougher laws and through drivers making a real commitment not to use their phones behind the wheel.
Call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Officials Working to Protect Your Child In and Around Cars, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 5, 2013.
Determining Safe Drinking and Driving – Impossible! Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 9, 2013.