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The Law of Distracted Driving

Insurance company studies have concluded that Florida has the second highest number of distracted drivers on the road in all of the United States; behind only Louisiana. Driving habits such as hard braking are clues that a driver is distracted by something within the vehicle. Often, the distraction comes from the use of a cellular telephone, or other technology, available within the automobile. It is no surprise that distracted driving causes accidents resulting in property damage, bodily injury, or both.

According to the Florida department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), in 2017 alone there were approximately:

  • 50,000 accidents
  • 200 deaths
  • 4,000 injuries from distracted driving

It is important to understand the current law on this issue, and even more important to connect with a Pensacola car accident attorney if you or someone you know was seriously injured by a distracted driver.

Distraction by Cell Phone

Police do not have legal cause to initiate a traffic stop merely because a driver is texting on a cell phone. There must be some other stoppable offense before police may cite a driver for distracted driving. Florida is one of few states with this rule. Georgia for example, has recently enacted the “Hands-Free Georgia Act.” This law says that Georgia drivers may not have a cell phone in their hand or use any part of their body to support a cell phone while driving. However, the device may be mounted to where a driver can touch the device to dial a number or to receive or end calls. As previously mentioned, Florida has no such “Hands Free” law. Whether or not there should be such a law is a topic for other discussion. However, it undeniable that cell phone usage is distracting drivers and causing accidents.

Distraction by Technology

Today’s automobile comes with incredible technology. Touch-sensitive screens give us immediate access to navigation tools and wireless information transfer to deliver music and other media. Having such vast technology on the road is admittedly distracting. This is especially so when the driver is making changes or troubleshooting the technology while the car is in motion. When this happens, the driver is not giving their full attention to the road, and thus, not driving in a reasonably prudent manner. To their credit, some auto companies have made it so that certain technology does not work while the car is in motion. The in-car technology seems to be in line with the Georgia “Hands Free” law. The technology does not have to be held like a cell phone. It can be controlled by mere touch. However, mere touch can take just long enough to prevent the driver from seeing a car that suddenly brakes in front of them.

Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?

Our personal injury lawyers at The Watson Firm are familiar with the laws regarding distracted driving. If you are injured in a car accident that you believe was the result of a distracted driver, you could be entitled to money damages for ensuing medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. The Watson Firm would be honored to discuss your case with you to determine the likelihood of you receiving these damages.

To contact us, call (850) 403-4779 or complete an online case evaluation form here.