April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
The number one cause of traffic accidents is distracted driving, which is simply to say the act of a driver not paying attention. This means that many car accidents—many tragedies—can be avoided as long as we continue to educate drivers and, as drivers, commit to focusing on the task at hand.
To combat the rise in distracted driving car accidents, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is focusing on distracted driving for the month of April and sharing information regarding why distracted driving is so dangerous. Their “Focus on Driving” campaign urges Florida motorists to keep their eyes—and attention—on the road when they’re behind the wheel. That’s certainly something we can get behind.
Staying Focused: Avoiding Distracted Driving
Curbing distracted driving requires commitment—but it doesn’t have to be hard. Taking small steps to cut out distracted driving behaviors out of our driving habits can have a big impact—and can even save a life.
Common distracted driving behaviors include:
- Fiddling with the radio
- Talking with passengers
- Talking on the phone
These tasks take our attention away from the road. They may require mental resources, such as when one is thinking of something to say or just daydreaming about finally winning the lotto, physical resources, as when one is eating or drinking, or visual resources, as when one turns to look at something. Some distractions require more resources and affect our driving more, increasing the risk of an accident.
Find ways to cut those behaviors out of your routine. If you frequently eat while driving, for example, take the time to either eat before hitting the road or after. Find your favorite radio station before rolling out of your driveway and ensure your presets are set so you can easily scroll if necessary. If you need to make calls on your commute, go hands-free. More and more vehicles are making this easy to do with Bluetooth integration. For more tips, check out this blog post.
Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law
Texting or using one’s smartphone is seen as the most dangerous driving distraction. Because texting not only requires your hands but also your visual and mental resources, it is exceedingly dangerous. Using other apps on your phone—even attempting to set your route on Google Maps while driving—is also dangerous. The moment you take your attention off the road, you are putting yourself, your passengers, and others in danger.
Florida legislators recognized the dangers of texting in driving and put legislation in place to protect Florida citizens. The Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law views texting as a secondary offense and allows officers to cite drivers for texting while driving if they are pulled over for a primary offense (such as speeding, failing to follow traffic signals, suspicion of DUI, etc.). Drivers cited for texting while driving will be fined.
No message is worth more than a life. Wait until you reach your destination to send or read texts.
Injured? Contact a Tampa Distracted Driving Lawyer
If you’ve been injured because of the poor choices of a distracted driver or are having problems getting your insurance to pay out after a car accident, consult with a Tampa car accident lawyer to learn about your legal options. A car accident can lead to lifelong injuries, mountains of debt, and other issues at work or home. You don’t have to face those effects alone. The attorneys at Winters & Yonker are committed to supporting Tampa residents injured in car accidents and are willing to fight on their behalf to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.