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by: Brandy D. Rood, Esq.

Throughout April, the Florida Department of Highway Safety for Motor Vehicles partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Associations, Florida SADD and the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition to commemorate April 2016 as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. 

Distracted driving accounted for about 12% of all crashes in Florida last year; 15% of crashes with injuries; and 7% of fatal crashes. Surprisingly, Orange County had the highest number of distracted driving crashes last year. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office posted on their Facebook page that there were more than 45,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida last year, causing over 39,000 injuries and more than 200 deaths. Most, if not all, of these injuries and deaths were preventable—with some education and awareness to the dangers of distracted driving.

There are 3 categories of distracted driving—visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel), and cognitive (thinking about anything other than driving). Texting is the most dangerous as it involves all 3 categories. However, some distracted driving behaviors that we all might be guilty of is talking on the cell phone (even hands-free), putting on makeup, reaching for a child in the back seat, eating, turning on the radio, checking GPS, and even day dreaming.

The largest number of distracted driving crashes involved drivers 20-24 years old, followed by 25-29 years old, and then 15-19 years old. Help us bring awareness to the issue of distracted driving. Talk to your kids about responsible driving behaviors and lead by example! 

Our lives are full of distractions, but no text message, phone call, or sandwich is worth a life. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our firm for a free consultation.