Beyond Texting and Driving: The Many Types Of Distracted Driving
The ability to multi-task is generally considered an asset. However, one place multi-tasking does not work is when you are behind the wheel. Driving is a complex task that requires your undivided attention. When you attempt to do other things at the same time, it leaves you distracted. Distracted driving, in all its types, significantly increases your car accident risks. As experienced Orlando car accident lawyers, we deal with the often tragic outcomes that occur due to distracted driving. To protect yourself and those you love, be aware of common types of distracted driving, the impact they can have on your driving abilities, and the laws in place designed to prevent distracted driving accidents in Florida.
Examples of distracted driving accidents
Statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) indicate that in the more than 30,000 car accidents in the Orlando area reported each year, distracted driving is a leading cause. In addition to increasing your car accident risks, it also increases the odds that a crash will result in serious personal injuries.
Our Orlando car accident attorneys want you to be aware that anything capable of diverting your attention for even a few seconds can put you and others on the road in danger. Texting and driving is the most common distraction, but distracted driving can also include the following examples:
- Eating and drinking coffee or other beverages;
- Attending to your hair, makeup, or other personal grooming tasks;
- Reaching for items in your handbag, glove compartment, or backseat;
- Attending to the needs of children or pets;
- Talking with other passengers in the vehicle;
- Rubbernecking at accidents or being distracted while sightseeing;
- Changing car stereo or GPS settings;
- Using your cell phone to answer emails or post on social media;
- Taking pictures or videos while behind the wheel.
Three types of distracted driving: Manual, visual, and cognitive distraction
Checking your appearance in the rearview mirror, drinking coffee while you drive to work, or simply being preoccupied with plans you have later in the day may all seem like relatively harmless activities, but they can significantly increase your risks of being involved in a car accident in Orlando.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each day, as many as eight people are killed in distracted driving accidents. In analyzing these crashes, traffic safety experts identified three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual distraction, which causes you to take your eyes off the road;
- Manual distraction, which causes you to take your hands off the steering wheel;
- Cognitive distraction, which causes you to take your mind off the road and the important task of driving.
Engaging in any type of distracted driving can put you, your passengers, and others on the road at risk, but texting while driving is particularly dangerous as it involves all three types of driving distractions. The CDC estimates that if you read or send a text while traveling at 55 miles per hour, it is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Distracted driving laws and penalties in Florida
Considering how common and dangerous texting and driving is, many states have instituted laws prohibiting this activity and restricting the use of handheld devices while behind the wheel.
Under Section 316.305 of the Florida Statutes, commonly referred to as the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving, it is against the law to use any type of wireless communications device to send or receive texts, emails, or instant messages. Police can pull you over if they suspect you are texting while driving, even if you have not committed any other type of traffic infraction. Penalties you could face for texting while driving in Orlando include:
- First offense: $30 fine plus court costs and other fees;
- Second offense, or while driving in a school or work zone: $60 fine plus court costs, other fees, and three points on your driver’s license;
- Texting while driving, resulting in a car accident: In addition to fines, court costs, other fees, and points on your driver’s license, you also face legal liability for any damages the other driver suffers as a result.
Since this law went into effect in July 2019, Click Orlando reports that more than 4,000 citations have been issued.
Contact our Orlando car accident attorneys to hold a distracted driver accountable
With over three decades of experience, you can count on our Orlando car accident attorneys to provide the trusted legal guidance you need when distracted driving accidents happen. Every person is a top priority to us and we make it our goal to ensure you get the maximum amount you need to recover from your injuries. To discuss your case, give us a call or contact the Law Offices of Pardy & Rodriguez online and request a free consultation today.