In 2018, 2,841 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Safety Council. While cell phone use is one of the most commonly recognized forms of distracted driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” When drivers are distracted, they are less likely to be paying attention to the road and are more likely to cause an accident.
If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted driver, a Fort Lauderdale distracted driving accident lawyer from Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers can help. You can speak to a member of our team at (954) 476-1000 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Types of Distracted Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) divides the types of distracted driving into three categories:
A visual distraction is anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Examples of visual distractions include:
- A text message that appears on a phone that you look at while driving
- A passenger in your vehicle you turn to look at
- Your children in the back seat you check on while driving
- A loose pet in your vehicle that you look at or pet
- Scenery outside that you look at
Manual distractions are things that cause you to take your hands off the wheel, such as:
- Texting while driving
- Adjusting dials on your radio, GPS, or other vehicle controls
- Picking up something that has fallen to the car floor
Cognitive distractions include anything that takes your mind off the task of driving, such as engaging in a conversation on your cell phone, thinking about the next day, or arguing with another occupant in the vehicle.
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Dangers of Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is such a dangerous activity because it involves all three of these types of distractions. When you text and drive, you look away from the road. The average text takes five seconds to read, so you may travel the length of a football field while “glancing” away at your phone, according to the NHTSA.
Texting and driving also takes your hands away from the steering wheel. If a sudden hazard appears, it will take you longer to respond to it. Additionally, texting and driving causes you to focus on the text and not on the road, so you are not mentally prepared to react to a hazard.
If you were injured by a distracted driver, contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers by calling (954) 476-1000 to learn about the potential personal injury claim you may be able to file.
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Risk Factors for Distracted Drivers
While anyone in any age group can text and drive, the problem does disproportionately affect the young. The CDC reports that drivers 19 and younger represent the biggest group of distraction-related fatal motor vehicle accidents. In addition, 9% of all motor vehicle fatal accidents in 2017 where teens died involved distracted driving. Teens who reported on a survey that they texted and drove were also more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors, including drinking and driving, getting in a vehicle with someone who had been drinking, or not wearing their seat belt.
Florida’s Texting While Driving Law
Florida Statute §316.305 prohibits drivers in the state from texting and driving. Specifically, this law prohibits drivers from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, or symbols or send or read data on a wireless device while operating a vehicle. The law specifically prohibits texting, emailing, and instant messaging while driving. Additionally, Florida Statute Section 316.306 prohibits anyone from using a handheld device in school or work zones.
The penalties for violating the texting while driving law are as follows:
- First offense – It is considered a non-moving traffic violation with a base fine of $30.00. Additional court costs and fees can be assessed. However, no points are assessed against the driver’s license.
- Second offense – If the same person receives a second citation for this act within five years, the offense is considered a moving traffic violation. There is a base fine of $60.00 and 3 points are assessed against the driver’s license.
If you use a handheld device while in a school or work zone, you may be subject to a fine and can have points assessed against your license.
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How Our Fort Lauderdale Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help
Our distracted driving accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale are ready to assist you with your claim. We will quickly get to work to piece together how your accident occurred. We can review the accident report, question eyewitnesses, and obtain additional evidence to determine if texting while driving or other distracted driving behavior contributed to the accident. We may also be able to obtain cell phone records that show or imply distracted driving was likely involved in the accident.
Once we have established liability in your claim, we will get to work on gathering evidence of the damages you sustained in the accident by requesting medical records, obtaining employment records that show how much income you lost while recovering from the accident, and seeking estimates on the costs to repair or replace your vehicle. We assemble this information to create a customized demand package we send to the insurance company.
While you focus on recovering after the accident, we handle all communications with the insurance company and discuss the offers and counteroffers made. You have the ultimate decision to accept the settlement offer or to reject it.
Contact Us Today for Your Free Consultation if You Were Injured by a Distract Driver
If you or your loved one was injured in a distracted driving accident, Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers are ready and able to help. A Fort Lauderdale distracted driving accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate your claim and determine the factors that contributed to it, such as texting while driving or other forms of distracted driving. Our personal injury law firm charges no attorney fees unless we can recover compensation for your personal injury claim. Contact us today at (954) 476-1000 to learn more.