While most rear-end collisions are caused by a combination of two or more factors—including disregarding traffic laws, driving recklessly, speeding, or tailgating—a stark majority are also in some part attributable to distracted driving.
A study by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) noted that roughly 87% of rear-end accidents studied involved “some form or degree of driver distraction.” In fact, distracted driving has become such a problem that federal and state legislatures have made concerted efforts in recent years to curb one common source: electronics.
In addition to electronics, NHTSA study found that eating, drinking, and interacting with pets and other passengers are other distractions frequently responsible for rear-end collisions.
As of July 2020, every state except for Montana has enacted laws banning the use of cell phones, handheld devices, or text messaging—or a combination of the three. In Florida, it is illegal for drivers to use handheld devices in school and work zones, as per Florida Statutes §316.306 and to send or read text messages, as per Florida Statutes §316.305.
Aggressive drivers, who have earned that title for being particularly dangerous, also commonly cause rear-end accidents. Aggressive drivers endanger other persons or property. While there is no singular legal definition for aggressive driving, it can include disregarding multiple traffic laws simultaneously. Offenses categorized as aggressive by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) include speeding, following too closely, failing to yield, weaving in and out of traffic, and passing improperly.
Speeding and Reckless Drivers
Speeding drivers, or those moving unreasonably fast for the given road conditions, such as bad weather or high traffic, routinely cause rear-end accidents. In bad weather, even drivers not technically traveling above the speed limit may not have time to brake and adequately decelerate to avoid hitting cars in front of them.
Similarly, in stop-and-go traffic, a speeding driver may not be able to slow in time to prevent rear-ending another driver. If traveling at a sufficient speed, an unreasonably fast driver might even cause a pile-up accident (a domino-effect of rear-end collisions).
Reckless, speeding drivers chance causing exceptionally devastating rear-end collisions on highways and multiple lane roads when they hit others at full speed. Reckless drivers often swerve in and out of lanes to avert slower and stopped vehicles. When there is no open lane or pathway to avert that slower traffic, a swerving driver may not realize it until it is too late to respond and prevent a rear-end collision from occurring.
Following Too Closely or “Tailgating”
Rear-end collisions are also often attributable to aggressive drivers who follow too closely, or “tailgate.” For this reason, Florida addresses this behavior specifically in Florida Statutes
§316.0895, which requires that drivers not follow others any more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” Frequently, drivers following too closely cannot sufficiently respond to rapid changes in traffic patterns or road conditions that require them to slow or stop quickly.
Failure to Yield
Drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way cause rear-end accidents, many times putting themselves at risk for being rear-ended. A driver who fails to yield while turning right on red might be rear-ended by oncoming traffic traveling full speed.
Similarly, a driver merging onto the highway might experience a rear-end collision if they do not yield to faster oncoming highway traffic. Drivers who fail to yield can also rear-end other drivers. For example, in an effort to avoid sitting through traffic lights, a reckless driver may cause a rear-end accident by speeding through (instead of yielding to) yellow and red lights.
Driving Too Slowly
Drivers traveling well below the speed limit are dangerous and pose a risk to others’ safety. For this reason, the Florida traffic statute addressing speed, Florida Statutes §316.183, does not just address maximum speeds. Minimum speeds are also clearly defined:
- On national highways with four or more lanes, drivers cannot drive below 40 miles per hour.
- On highways with 70 mile-per-hour speed limits, drivers must drive at least 50 miles per hour.
Exceptionally slow drivers prevent traffic flow and force other drivers to slow suddenly to avoid them. On highways and other high-speed roads, there may not be adequate time to do so; consequently, rear-end accidents may occur.
How We Can Help
Regardless of its cause, if your accident and injury resulted from another driver’s negligence, you deserve justice and may be eligible for compensation. A compensation award can ensure your financial security as you work to recover from injuries suffered in your accident. You were already unfairly physically injured. You should not now also suffer financial harm. Instead, you deserve the time and opportunity to fully heal and begin to rebuild your life.
You deserve fair, personalized legal representation. At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we treat our clients like family. We will work closely with you to understand what happened and build a case that best represents your accident and the severity of your injuries.
To learn more about whether Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers may be able to help you, call us today at (954) 476-1000.