Texting behind the wheel is a major problem in Florida and around the country. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), on average, distracted drivers injure more than 1,000 people every single day, and texting is widely recognized as one of the most prevalent forms of distracted driving.
Florida has enacted a ban on texting behind the wheel – and with good reason. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that there were 45,740 distracted driving crashes in the state during 2015. These crashes left nearly 40,000 victims suffering from injuries and resulted in 214 fatalities. Here in Okaloosa County, there were 770 distracted-driving accidents in 2015. That averages out to more than two accidents every single day – all of which could have easily been avoided.
Alarming Statistics on the Dangers of Texting and Driving
But, the statistics demonstrating the dangers of texting and driving do not end there. According to studies reported by the NHTSA and the DOT:
- Ten percent of all fatal crashes involving 15 to 19-year-old drivers involve distracted driving.
- As of 2014, 2.2 percent of drivers had been observed either texting or otherwise using handheld devices behind the wheel.
- In a 2015 study, 33 percent of drivers admitted to texting while driving.
- At any moment during the day, approximately 660,000 drivers are using their phones while driving.
- In the time it takes to read the average text message (five seconds), a car traveling at highway speeds will travel the length of an entire football stadium.
Why Is Texting Behind the Wheel So Dangerous?
This last statistic begins to explain the risks associated with texting and driving. When drivers are looking at their phones, they are not looking at the road. This is a major concern for obvious reasons, but it actually isn’t the only impairment associated with sending and reading text messages behind the wheel.
The FLHSMV points to three specific risks associated with texting in the driver’s seat:
- Visual impairment – Not looking at the road.
- Manual impairment – Not having your hands on the steering wheel.
- Cognitive impairment – Not focusing on the task at hand (driving).
These risks are what make texting behind the wheel just as dangerous – and in some ways more dangerous – than driving drunk, and they are also among the reasons why victims of distracted drivers will often be entitled to seek financial compensation for their accident-related losses.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured or Lost a Loved One to a Texting Driver
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle collision in the Fort Walton, FL area and you believe that a texting driver may be to blame, our Fort Walton car accident lawyers can help you stand up for your legal rights. We have decades of experience representing auto accident victims in Florida, and we will fight aggressively to win the compensation you deserve. To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, please call (850) 682-2757 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.