It comes as no surprise to anyone that automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for Florida’s young adults age 33 and below. What is shocking however is that most automobile fatalities are not due to driving under the influence of alcohol or speeding, but to a relatively new scourge on our highways called distracted driving.
There are a number of situations that define distracted driving like eating and drinking, listening to music and having passengers in the car, but no single factor is more critical in causing distracted driving automobile accidents and the resulting fatalities than smartphone usage. The National Safety Council states that over 25% of all automobile accidents nationwide are the result of the driver either talking, texting or reading messages and notifications on their smartphones while driving. In spite of this glaring and alarming statistic, using a cell phone to talk while driving continues to be legal in the state of Florida.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states have banned all cell phone usage by novice and teen drivers and 20 states ban their use by school bus drivers. 46 out of 50 states ban texting while driving for all drivers. In Florida, texting is banned but is treated as only a secondary offense meaning one can be charged with the crime only after being pulled over for another offense such as speeding or reckless driving.
Smartphone usage is a way of life for teenagers and young adults and the thought of shutting them off for motor vehicle safety reasons realistically never crosses their mind. Business people driving to meetings and appointments often “multi-task” having one appointment on the phone while driving to another in person meeting. Many young mothers rely on their smartphone as a life line to the outside world and continue to use it during trips in the car to do the shopping and take the kids here and there. There is almost no point in life where smart phones don’t play a central role. Unless stronger laws are enacted and enforced, smartphones will continue to cause the distractions that lead to motor vehicle accidents and preventable fatalities.
If you have been injured or have had a loved one killed in a distracted driving accident and suspect negligence on the part of the other driver, you can file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the insurance company of the distracted driver in order to potentially recover money spent on medical bills, lost wages or funeral expenses and the like. At The Law Firm of Joseph Maus in Davie, we are knowledgeable and experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys who know every angle to pursue to get you the compensation you deserve. In addition to gathering all of the pertinent evidence, we can seek the cell phone records of the negligent driver to determine their cell phone usage at the time of the accident.