Distracted driving is among the fastest-growing safety concerns on the road these days. Distracted drivers don’t just threaten their lives. They also endanger the lives of other people around them.
Basically, the national distracted driving efforts concentrate on stopping drivers’ behavior through education, legislation, public awareness, and enforcement.
According to a report carried out in 2016 by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, around 46,000 accidents involved distracted driving that resulted in 234 fatalities and 3,489 serious injuries.
These distracted driving statistics make Florida the second-worst state for accidents that comes as no surprise. Luckily, the law changed, making the usage of phones while driving illegal. To help you understand these statistics in Florida, be sure to look at the following rundowns:
1. Current Law in Florida
According to Florida Law, no driver is allowed to text while they’re behind the wheels. However, the law is secondary – meaning that a law enforcement officer cannot pull over a driver based on just spotting the behavior.
Although most states are addressing the use of hands-free and handheld devices, Florida is yet to do so. Hence, drivers may still pick calls either using an in-vehicle infotainment system or holding the phone.
Advocates for strict laws say that prohibiting certain drivers, including teens and novice motorists, from using their handheld and hands-free devices may help minimize the number of accidents resulting from distracted driving.
2. Florida Penalties for Driving and Texting
Florida’s no driving and texting law gave a warning period up to January 2020. After this period, Florida instituted a series of penalties for every driver who violated the law.
The time a law enforcement officer catches a driver in Florida driving and texting, they can be issued around $30 as a fine, though the citation may not go on the driving record.
A subsequent violation within a four or five-year time is regarded as a moving crime. The fine can go up to $100 and even put three points on your driving records.
3. Secondary Offense
In response to texting when driving, the legislature of Florida enacted a ban on this particular activity. Unlike most states with the law prohibiting texting when driving, Florida is one of the states with a secondary offense.
If texting when driving was a primary offense, law enforcement could pull over drivers committing a distracted driving crime. Because it is a secondary offense, drivers can only be cited for committing the crime if they were pulled over for another thing, like speeding.
4. Statistics of Distracted Driving
After Louisiana, Florida is the second-worse state across the country for distracted driving. This is because receiving or making a call while driving is basically a secondary offense that a police officer will not be able to ask you to pull over. You must have committed another serious and bigger offense.
Meanwhile, there were around 45,000 distracted driving accidents five years ago. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also linked making calls while driving to the fourfold increase of accidents.
Drivers these days have become negligent and distracted than before by using their mobile phones while driving. In order to make the issue even worse, research shows that activities many individuals regard as safe increase the chance of having accidents.
That being said, if distracted drivers cause a car accident while using their phones, this might not constitute a crime, but still, they will be responsible for the damages and injuries sustained.