April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Drive Safe on I-4 in Central Florida!

We all know the areas. The areas that have all the car crashes. Is it the corner of University and Semoran in Orlando? Is it Colonial Drive? OBT? Every day, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in distracted driving-related crashes, according to the National Safety Council. Cell phones, dashboard touchscreens, voice commands and other in-vehicle technologies pose a threat to driver and passenger safety. The convenience many of these devices offer is not worth the consequences that come with these distractions. As an attorney who handles these cases every day, my advice is to just DRIVE, avoid any and all distractions behind the wheel. Your life and other lives depend on it!

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention off the road, even for just a second. It is said that while your vehicle is traveling at highway speed, you need the length of a football field between yourself and the car in front of you to safely react. Even a small distraction can hurt your ability to react to an unexpected hazard on the road, resulting in an accident due to distracted driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during daytime hours, a reported 660,000 drivers use their cell phones, often while doing an activity as important as operating a motor vehicle. In a study published by Car and Driver, it was reported that the amount of time it takes a person who is distracted by his or her cell phone to react to a hazard on the road is just as long as it takes an intoxicated driver to react.

Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,166 lives in 2017 alone. It is also 100% preventable.
Teen drivers tend to be the most vulnerable group when it comes to distracted driving. It is for this reason that the month of April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to bring awareness to what many are calling an “epidemic” in our society.

We are all aware that distracted driving is a problem, so why do people still allow themselves to be distracted while behind the wheel? According to the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, using our cell phones affects our brains in the same manner as any other addiction. Using our phones stimulates the pleasure cells in our brains, releasing dopamine. This small momentary “fix” is why it can be so tempting to reach over and check your phone, even though we are aware of the risk.

Distracted Driving and the Law

Florida law currently does not consider distracted driving a primary offense, which means that law enforcement needs a separate traffic violation to pull a driver over, first. However, that may change in the future. Two bills are making their way through the Florida legislature, both of which would allow the police to pull a driver over solely for texting while driving or using their cell phone while the car is in motion. If these bills pass the Florida House and Senate, the law would go into effect next year.

How to Avoid Distracted Driving

The National Safety Council has several tips to keep you from being distracted while driving, which we recommend, as well. The first of these tips is to keep the distractions out of sight, out of mind. We are all so connected to our cell phones today, but while you are behind the wheel, make sure your phone is not accessible. Keep your phone in the back seat or simply out of reach to avoid the temptation. Place your phone on “Driving Mode,” which mutes all incoming message notifications while you are driving. Turn off your cell phone, if necessary, while you are driving. If you need to make an important call or return a message, only do so once you can park your car in a safe place.

Texting is not the only driving distraction behind the wheel. Eating and drinking, tending to passengers and pets in the vehicle, personal grooming, adjusting the radio and other dashboard distractions, can all lead to a distracted driving-related auto accident.

Involved in a Distracted Driving Car Accident? Call Benenati Law.

Distracted drivers cause the majority of auto accidents in Central Florida, with millions of dollars in medical costs and property damages arising from such collisions. If you were involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Personal Injury Attorney Walter Benenati understands Florida’s complex personal injury laws and fights hard to protect the legal rights of injured clients and their families- holding auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by their clients.

At The Benenati Law Firm, we have a culture of care at our firm and provide clients with the attention and responsiveness their personal injury case deserves. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Please do not hesitate to call our office today at 407-777-7777 for a free legal consultation. Abogado Hispano con experiencia en juicios sirviendo las necesidades legales de la comunidad de la Florida.