florida distracted driving attorneys

South Florida Distracted Driving Accidents & Laws

We don’t have the most accidents in the country, but we’re near the top. Florida placed third on the most dangerous U.S. states for driving list, with speeding the primary crash cause. Texas and California are ahead of us.


The Florida Highway Patrol reports there are about five distracted driving accidents in Florida every hour.


We all know Florida is not the safest state for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. But distracted driving is making the roadways even more dangerous.

Whenever you think of distracted drivers around South Florida, you may assume it’s only using your phone wile driving. Although it is a leading reason in distracted driving accidents, it’s not the only thing that takes attention away of drivers on the road.

 

What Is Distracted Driving?

 


 

In Florida, distracted driving is defined in a very broad range of things that can be considered as a distraction for dfriving as “any activity which takes a person’s hands off the steering wheel, eyes away from the road, or mind (thoughts) away from driving, creating manual, visual, and cognitive distractions for driving.”

Distractions endanger the safety and lives of drivers, passengers, bystanders, and anyone else on the road. Some common distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating while driving or tipping a bottle or can up for a drink
  • Putting on makeup
  • Having a conversation with passengers
  • Reading
  • Looking at things on the side of the road like an accident or a broken-down vehicle
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting climate control, radio, or GPS settings
  • Rubbernecking

 

“I risk my life every day while driving on I-95,” said Brianna McCall, an Oakland Park resident who works in Coral Springs. “I prepare myself for 40 minutes of anxiety every morning. It’s like people forget to use their brains while operating a moving vehicle.”

South Florida Distracted Driving Accidents & Laws 1 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm

Florida Distracted Driving Statistics

 


 

The latest distracted driving statistics in Florida that are available are from 2017. In that year:

  • There were 234 car crashes that resulted in a fatality as a result of distracted driving.
  • 270,000 non-fatal accidents occurred that resulted in injuries ranging from minor to catastrophic.
  • Of those 270,000 accidents, 3,100 caused life-altering injuries for one or more people involved in the event.
  • Distracted driving is most common among teenagers and young adults. In fact, distracted drivers under the age of 30 caused 12,000 auto accidents in 2015 alone.

Distracted Driving Has Caused Accidents to Skyrocket in Florida

 

What do South Florida drivers do to prevent an accident from distracted driving?

 


 

The distracted driving laws in Florida have made it easy for law enforcement officials to pull over people that they see or suspect that are distracted while operating a vehicle.

There is a hand-held device law that went into effect in 2019 that allows law enforcement to pull over people they see or suspect them of using their phones while driving. Unlike before, where they could only ticket someone for this only if they had pulled them over for a different reason.

 

South Florida Distracted Driving Accidents & Laws 2 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm 

Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving

 


 

Saying “no” to distracted driving does not just prevent you from getting a ticket, it can keep you from causing a serious accident and lifelong damage to other drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Sometimes it seems like we can’t get away from our phones, but it is a necessary thing to do while driving. Here are some tips to help you put it down when you’re behind the wheel:

 

  • Be aware of safe phone zones. Sometimes, you might be expecting an important call or need to contact someone while on the road. If you find yourself in this situation, seek out a safe phone zone so that you will be less likely to be distracted by your upcoming call or text.
  • Assign a passenger to be your “phone buddy.” They can give directions, send texts, and manage hotel and restaurant reservations on a road trip.
  • Take advantage of “hands free” options. As we mentioned above, you can receive a citation for texting while driving, but general cell phone use is not included in the ban. In case of emergencies, learn how to use the “hands free” options on your cell phone. Smart phones give you the option of giving verbal commands for texting, calling, or finding directions to your destination. This is still a form of distracted driving, but at least it allows you to keep your eyes on the road while using your cell phone.
  • Leave your phone at home. It sounds like a wild idea because we’ve all gotten so used to having our phones at all times, but the truth is that you don’t need your phone for every shopping trip or errand. If you keep your phone at home, you won’t be able to use it while driving.

 


 

If you are cited for a distracted driving law in Florida, you could face hefty fines, be required to attend driving school, and you may see increases in your car insurance rates.

It is also important to remember that distracted driving can lead to accidents. If you are distracted and cause an accident, you can be held responsible for the event. Negligence is a very serious charge, and you could face financial and legal problems if found negligent.

If you are involved in an auto accident and believe that the other driver’s distracted driving caused the accident or your injuries, you should speak to an attorney immediately. If another driver is found to have been distracted at the time of the crash, you could be entitled to extra compensation. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.

 

South Florida Distracted Driving Accidents & Laws 3 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm

south florida accident behind the wheel distractions

The South Florida Seven Most Dangerous Driving Situations

It’s your car—the vehicle that gets you to work every day, that carries your groceries home, shelters you and your family on road trips. For many Americans, it can be nearly impossible to see their beloved motor vehicle as a hazard.

 

Massive, heavy, and fast-moving, cars can become dangerous weapons when driving improperly or recklessly. Every year, motor vehicle crashes claim the lives of nearly 37,000 Americans and leave an additional 2.35 million seriously injured, according to data from the Association for Safe International Road Travel.

 

Too often, fatal auto accidents are caused by driver error or negligence. Below, we’ve listed seven of the most dangerous things drivers do behind the wheel that frequently lead to tragic accidents.

 

 

Driving While Distracted


Many are often surprised to learn that distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents, surpassing even drunk driving according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To combat the scourge of distracted driving, Florida lawmakers have passed legislation that prohibits texting while driving and enacted measures to discourage this behavior.

However, texting and driving isn’t the only dangerous distracted driving behavior. Making phone calls, fiddling with GPS or music systems, grooming, and even talking to passengers are all examples of activities that can take a driver’s attention away from the road and lead to serious accident. In many cases, simply being lost in thought can be enough of a distraction to cause a serious auto accident. You can prevent distracted driving accidents by making a conscious effort to keep your eyes, hands, and attention away from distractions and on the road.

 

Driving While Intoxicated

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may seem like an obvious danger, yet hundreds of thousands of Americans are still involved in drunk driving crashes each year, according to reports from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Drinking not only impairs a driver’s ability to drive, but to react to things occurring around them and respond appropriately to potentially dangerous situations. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid driving entirely after drinking even in moderate amounts, opting instead to ride with a sober friend or take a cab or public transportation.

 

The South Florida Seven Most Dangerous Driving SituationsDriving Drowsy

Driving while tired may feel like a necessary evil after a long day of work or a restless night, but doing so can endanger not just the driver, but everyone else on the road around them. When a driver’s body is sleep deprived, their reaction time is slowed and they can quite easily fall asleep at the wheel. Driving drowsy increases the likelihood of serious, often fatal accidents. You can do your part to prevent these types of accidents by pulling over to a safe place to rest if you catch yourself drifting off.

Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Driving Above or Below the Speed Limit

When it comes to speeding, the science behind its dangers is clear. Based on the laws of physics, the faster a car is driving, the more severe the potential accident will be. However, some studies have found that driving below the speed limit can be dangerous too, since it can disrupt the flow and predictability of traffic. The bottom line: follow posted speed limits and pay attention to the average speed of the other drivers around you to avoid speed-related crashes.

 

The South Florida Seven Most Dangerous Driving Situations 4 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law FirmDriving with Road Rage

When stress and frustration turn into road rage, accidents and undesirable confrontations follow. Road rage may include making obscene gestures, yelling insults, or purposely driving in an unsafe manner. If you believe another driver on the road is experiencing road rage, stay calm, and try to move away from him or her as soon as possible.

Driving With Road Rage

Driving without a Seatbelt

According to government reports, seatbelts save more than 13,000 lives nationwide every year. It may seem harmless to hop in the car without putting on a seatbelt if you’re just heading around the corner, but a large number of crashes occur at low speeds and close to the point of embarkation. Make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened before starting up the engine, and double-check to ensure your passengers do the same.

The South Florida Seven Most Dangerous Driving Situations 5 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm

 

Failing to Yield

Running red lights, breezing through stop signs, and failing to yield the right of way can lead to serious collisions. Freeway merge ramps in particular can become death traps when drivers fail to observe traffic laws and signs. Make the roads safer for you and everyone around you by adhering to traffic laws and keeping an eye on things happening around you.

 

The 7 Most Dangerous Things Drivers Do behind the Wheel

Of course, just because you practice safe driving doesn’t mean other drivers on the road will do the same. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident due to another’s dangerous driving behavior, consult with a knowledgeable Florida auto accident attorney.

 

A skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to help you hold the other driver accountable for their reckless or negligent behavior, and obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to recovery. By holding the driver responsible for their dangerous decisions, you can help make the road safer for yourself and your community.

 

 

south florida thunderstorm rain auto accidents

Keeping Safe While Driving In South Florida Rain

Living in South Florida, it’s inevitable to deal with rain. According to statistics by US Climate Data, the West Palm Beach alone area receives 62 inches of precipitation annually. When researchers ranked the top 10 wettest cities to live in, two of which are in South Florida (Miami and West Palm Beach).

 

Driving  in South Florida is a dangerous and even deadly situation to be in under wet conditions. More than 7 thousand people lose their life in weather-related auto accidents.
According to statistics by US Climate Data, the West Palm Beach area receives 62 inches of precipitation annually.
When researchers ranked the top 10 wettest cities to live in, two of which are in South Florida (Miami and West Palm Beach).

 

The AMA (American Meteorological Society) published a study that highlights the increase of dangerous road conditions and the elevated risk involved.

 

“[Scott] Stevens, a data analyst and meteorologist at the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, and colleagues looked at 125,012 fatal car crashes in the Lower 48 states from 2006 to 2011, factoring in how many cars are on the road, to calculate the risk of a fatal accident. While other studies have used police reports and the nearest weather station to calculate rain and snow conditions, Stevens said his is the first study to use more precise weather radar data. It was able to distinguish how hard the rain or snow was falling to come up with results showing an increase in fatal crashes even in rain of less than one-tenth of an inch per hour.”

 

All the evidence points to the same: when the road is wet, your chance of being involved in an accident can drastically increase. As the visibility level lowers due to rain and how the road becomes slippery when water has accumulated on it.

Hydroplaning becomes an issue when rain is especially heavy – a common occurrence in Florida. Hydroplaning refers to a situation when a car starts to slide uncontrollably because of the tires encountering more water that it can scatter. As the water carries the car, the brakes and other controls become useless. Quick turns and movements on wet roads can also cause the vehicle to hydroplane as well.

 

 

The Hazard of Hazard Lights

You may see other drivers with hazard lights flashing to indicate they are moving slower than surrounding traffic during stormy conditions. But in Florida, it’s actually illegal to use hazard lights while driving unless you are part of a funeral procession. Flashing lights were designed with the express purpose of indicating a hazard to other drivers, and they should only be activated when your vehicle is a hazard on the side of the road. Using them under any other circumstance is not only unnecessary, but it also causes confusion. If it’s raining, the only lights you should turn on are your headlights.

Rainy weather may make driving more difficult, but it does not relieve drivers of their responsibilities behind the wheel. With proper vehicle maintenance, knowledge of local laws and a bit of common sense, you can travel safer during a downpour along with a helpful tips to keep in mind.

 

 

Keeping Safe While Driving In South Florida Rain 6 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm

5 Tips to avoid an auto accident
in slippery road conditions

Check Tire Pressure Regularly
Tires with weak tread may not grip a wet road as well as newer tires with thicker tread. Make sure your tires are safe for the roads.
Before setting out when rain is present or forecasted, it is even more important than normal to make sure your tires are in good shape and have adequate tread depth since bald tires can increase the risk of hydroplaning.

Gust Awareness
Drive at a speed that compensates for high speed gusts that can otherwise impact your vehicle.
Watch out for larger vehicles.
Larger vehicles are much harder to control when it is windy and can have difficulty staying in their lane.

Maintain Distance
Maintain a large distance with the car in front of you. Cars may have difficulty stopping due to wet conditions. Brake earlier than usual, and apply less force to increase the stopping distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you while also alerting the driver behind you that you are reducing your speed.

Know Anything Can Happen
Often times during storms, other drivers fail to drive safely. Make sure to watch around you and drive defensively.

Get There Safe, Not Fast
Getting to your destination without an accident is more important than keeping a schedule. Maintain a safe speed limit and be sure to obey all traffic rules and signals. Drive more slowly, take turns slowly, and be sure to give your fellow motorists ample following distance.

In other words, when it rains, whether heavy or light, slow it down. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others when driving in the rain is adjusting how you drive according to the current weather conditions.

 

 

Keeping Safe While Driving In South Florida Rain 7 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm

Have you been involved in an
auto accident under rainy conditions?

Sadly, even riders who follow the above tips can still end up hurt by a reckless or distracted driver.
Determining which driver is at fault for an accident requires an investigation of the collision. The investigation involves the review of all pieces of evidence that are available, such as photographs or video surveillance of the accident, testimony from any witnesses to the accident, and a digital reconstruction of the accident that incorporates all relevant factors, such as the rainy weather.

If you were hurt in an auto accident because of a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless driver, you can call The South Florida Injury Law Firm anytime at (954) 764-7377 – we’re available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Complete our online form to get a free case evaluation and our team will assist with the legal aspects of your claim so you can focus on your health . Remember, the consultation is completely free! That means you don’t owe us anything until we recover for you.

Florida Drivers: If You Have a Restless Night, Should You Drive?

Florida Drivers: If You Have a Restless Night, Should You Drive?

Florida Drivers: If You Have a Restless Night, Should You Drive?

In June 2018, a horrific crash was caught on camera near Orlando. In this very dramatic footage, the vehicle is seen drifting into a concrete barrier at the toll plaza on the Florida Turnpike near St. Cloud. The impact ejects one of the four passengers onboard out through the windshield and sends him flying for about 20 feet.

Miraculously, the driver and all four passengers – including the one who was thrown out – and the driver survived the accident without serious injuries.

Reports released by the police showed that the 23-year-old man behind the wheel at the time of this crash was fatigued. Consequently, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles later tweeted a statement warning people that driving while drowsy and tired is dangerous and can have deadly consequences.

The agency could not have put it better – drowsy driving can indeed be deadly.

How bad is it?

Drowsy Driving Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

That’s right. Fatigued drivers can be just as deadly as drivers who drink and drive.

Information from the CDC shows that:

  • If you stayed awake for 18 hours, your driving would be impaired in the same way it would if your BAC (blood alcohol content) was 0.05%.
  • If you stayed awake for 24 hours, your driving would be impaired in the same way it would if your BAC was 0.10% (the legal BAC limit is 0.08%).

In short, being sleep-deprived mirrors the dangerous effects of even the lowest amounts of alcohol and increases your chances of getting into an accident.

Why a Sleep-Deprived Driver Is A Dangerous Driver

A person who gets behind the wheel while fatigued, sleep-deprived, or drowsy usually has trouble staying alert. Such a person inadvertently becomes a dangerous driver because:

Their Reaction Time Is Slowed

Being sleep-deprived, fatigued, or drowsy gives you a sense of heaviness – particularly around your wrists and ankles. This feeling reduces the driver’s ability to react fast and appropriately to sudden situations on the road.

Sleep Deprivation Occasionally Sends Your Brain to Sleep

A fatigued or sleep-deprived driver may drift in and out of microsleep episodes while at the wheel. These micro-naps last just a few seconds and may even happen with the driver’s eyes open. This is the brain’s way of trying to get some rest, and it’s terrifying for anyone who has ever driven while tired, which is probably just about all of us.

Sleep Deprivation Denies You Control Over Your Vehicle

It’s not just your brain that “turns off” for some rest when you’re sleep deprived – most of your other sensory and motor senses may doze off too. This makes drowsy driving just as bad as – if not worse than – distracted driving.

When you fall asleep – even just “microsleep” – you give up control of the vehicle. Typically, these black outs only last a few seconds, but a lot of bad things can happen during that time if you’re driving.

Don’t Drive If You Are Sleep Deprived in Florida

The bottom line is that getting behind the wheel while drowsy, fatigued, or sleep-deprived, increases the risk of you being in or causing an accident. People who drive tired are a safety risk to their passengers, themselves, and every other person on the road.

Don’t Drive If You Are Sleep Deprived in Florida

It’s not always easy, but always strive to get enough sleep, and try to avoid late car rides. Additionally, if you believe you might be suffering from a sleep disorders, seeking help could save your life. Remember – sleep is as important for your health and wellbeing as it is to your safety on the road.

 

About the Author: 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Florida Car Crashes: Why Do So Many Happen Close to Home?

Florida Car Crashes: Why Do So Many Happen Close to Home?

Florida Car Crashes: Why Do So Many Happen Close to Home?

There’s no way to completely avoid car accidents. However, more accidents tend to happen in certain places and situations than in others. Because of this, being aware of these accident “hot spots” and staying alert can help reduce your risk of becoming involved in a car accident.

So, where do crashes tend to happen more often?

You might think that the unfamiliar locales and drowsiness of a long-distance road trip would make car accidents more likely when you’re far away from home… but you’d be wrong. Below we’re going to detail where car accidents happen most, and more importantly, what you can do to reduce your chance of getting into a crash.

Where Florida Auto Accidents Happen Most

In the US, there is a car crash about once every 5.2 seconds. Tens of thousands of people are killed annually in fatal collisions, and millions of Americans are involved in non-fatal accidents.

Where do all of these auto accidents occur? Statistically, there are certain places where auto accidents are more likely to happen:

  • Close to home: Studies have shown that about one in three car accidents happen within a mile of the motorist’s home, and an even higher percentage more occur within 25 miles of home. This may be because motorists are in a comfort zone when close to home, and they are less likely to be alert on the road. One of the most common causes of collisions close to home is hitting parked cars.
  • Intersections: Not surprisingly, collisions are more likely to occur in intersections, where two or more directions of traffic come together. Auto accidents are even more likely if the intersection is unregulated or only has stop or yield signs instead of a stoplight.
  • Stoplights: Stoplights are a common place for car accidents, particularly rear-end collisions when drivers fail to stop in time for a car sitting in front of them at a red light.
  • Busy two-lane roads: Two-lane roads in rural or non-residential areas with moderate speed limits are common locations for head-on collisions, which can be very dangerous. Auto accidents on two-lane roads commonly happen when motorists try to pass slower-moving vehicles by speeding into oncoming traffic.
  • Rural highways: Although rural highways have less traffic, they are a common site of single-car accidents. Similar to driving close to home, driving in deserted areas can lead to motorist inattention. Roadway disrepair, wildlife and debris in the roads can increase the risk of this type of accident.

Avoiding Auto Accident Hotspots in Florida

Ever pulled into your driveway and realized that you can’t remember the last part of your drive home? This is because your brain tends to go on autopilot when you’re in an area you’re very familiar with, or making a drive you’re very familiar with, such as your commute to and from work. Your brain tends to rely more on muscle memory than on active driving skills on these familiar drives, making you less aware of the road.

Reminding yourself to stay alert during these “familiar” drives can significantly decrease your risk of car accidents. Try to avoid falling into a comfort zone when you’re close to home or on a drive that you make frequently. If you find your attention drifting, bring your focus back to the road. Sometimes rolling down a window can help increase your alertness.

Florida Car Crashes: Why Do So Many Happen Close to Home? 8 Distracted Driving South Florida Injury Law Firm

Additionally, and this should go without saying, but you should always buckle your seatbelt – even for short trips. In fact, you should do this especially for short trips, given the statistics we’ve covered. Also, always be sure to avoid distracted driving practices such as texting while driving.

Although there’s no surefire way to avoid auto accidents completely, staying alert to road conditions and being aware of the places and situations that make collisions more likely can help you and your family stay safe on the road.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Stronger Distracted Driving Laws - Nope, Says Florida Senate

Stronger Distracted Driving Laws? Nope, Says Florida Senate

Stronger Distracted Driving Laws - Nope, Says Florida Senate

 

Recent legislation passed by the Florida House would have cracked down on distracted driving, but the Senate refused to even hear the bill.

 

Bill HB 33 was passed by the Florida House of Representatives 112-2, and Governor Rick Scott even gave it his blessing, meaning the bill likely would have been signed into law if passed by the Senate. However, Florida Senate President Joe Negron refused to hear the bill, effectively killing it.

 

Currently, texting while driving is only a secondary offense. This means that drivers can only be ticketed if pulled over for another offense. Furthermore, the fine for distracted driving is only $20 – not much motivation to put cell phones away and focus on the road.

 

Why is this such a big deal? Because distracted driving is extremely hazardous. It significantly slows a driver’s reaction time, meaning that a distracted driver has much less time to perceive hazards and react to avoid an accident. In fact, some studies suggest that distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

 

There are many ways that drivers distract themselves while on the road, but these days the most common driver distraction is cell phone use, particularly texting or other means of written communication.

 

Using Smartphones While Driving: A Deadly Combination

 

Florida is the second-worst state in the nation for distracted driving, with over 50,000 distracted driving accidents annually – that’s more than five crashes every hour. Distracted driving crashes are often very serious, with over 3,500 serious injuries and 233 deaths occurring annually due to distracted driving.

 

In fact, these statistics may be an underestimate. According to Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky, people are unlikely to volunteer the fact that they were distracted prior to a crash. This means that many more crashes than officially recorded could involve distracted driving.

 

There are three categories of driver distraction:

 

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: Taking your hands off of the steering wheel
  • Cognitive: Thinking about things other than driving

 

Using cell phones and texting while driving requires all three categories of distraction, making texting and driving one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving.

 

This is why most states have outlawed texting or other means of written communication (such as email and social media) while driving and passed legislation to make it a primary offense.

 

This means that police are able to stop and cite drivers who use handheld cell phones while driving even if they are not engaged in any other improper driving behaviors. In some states, such as New York, it’s even an offense to talk on a cell phone while driving.

 

Florida is on the opposite end of that spectrum. We are one of only four states that has not yet made texting while driving a primary offense.

 

Using Smartphones While Driving - A Deadly Combination

 

HB 33 would have changed this, finally giving law enforcement the ability to pull drivers over for texting on their cell phones while driving without the requirement that they were disobeying any other laws. Unfortunately, the blockage of Bill HB 33 means that this is unlikely to change anytime soon.

 

What does this mean for Florida drivers? The bottom line is that law enforcement has little power to stop distracted driving here – police are hamstrung to prevent this dangerous behavior by the law itself. In fact, the only way to hold distracted drivers accountable if you are injured by their negligence is to file a personal injury auto accident claim.

 

Personal Injury Claims for Distracted Driving in Florida

 

If you are injured in a car accident that was not your fault and believe that the other driver may have been using a handheld cell phone at the time of the crash, take action by filing a personal injury claim. This will help to address financial concerns arising from the accident and injury, and will also hold the other driver accountable for his or her negligence.

 

To win, your personal injury attorney will need to present evidence proving the required elements of a negligent injury case. These include the fact that the other driver had a duty to drive safely, that they breached this duty, that you were injured because of this breach, and that your injuries have caused you financial damages.

 

Florida Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers

 

Our experienced Florida injury lawyers can review your situation and help you determine if you have a viable case. Succeed in your lawsuit and you will win well-deserved compensation for you and your family, while also holding the distracted driver accountable, hopefully discouraging them from making the same mistake in the future.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Texting While Driving May Soon Become a Primary Offense

Texting While Driving May Soon Become a Primary Offense

Texting While Driving May Soon Become a Primary Offense

Texting is one of the most dangerous things that you can do behind the wheel. Sending a quick text may only take your eyes off the road for a few seconds, but those few seconds are still critical for responding to pedestrians, cars, and other things on the road that require a driver’s attention.

 

Case-in-point: almost 1 in 5 traffic accidents are caused by texting and distracted driving (to compare, approximately 1 in 3 traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers). Texting while driving kills and injures people every single day in this country.

 

A majority of drivers understand the dangers of texting and driving, yet 74% of people still admit to sending a text or even having lengthy text conversations behind the wheel. Are the stats not enough? What will it take to get Florida drivers to stop texting while they are behind the wheel?

 

Some law enforcement experts believe that it will take a harsh crackdown on drivers who text. Because of this, penalties for texting and driving could increase in the coming months.

 

Texting as a Primary Offense Rather Than a Secondary One

 

Texting is currently illegal in Florida, but cops are not allowed to pull you over just because they notice you texting. You can only get a ticket for texting and driving if police officers are also able to cite you for a primary traffic offense such as running a red light, speeding, and so on.

 

In other words, if a cop sees a driver texting behind the wheel but they are otherwise obeying the rules of the road, their hands are tied.

 

Only four other states treat texting and driving as a secondary offense, and soon there may only be three. Florida lawmakers want to change policies so that police officers can pull you over simply for texting and driving.

 

There are also proposed bills in Florida’s House of Representatives that would double the fines you can receive for texting in a school zone, and a bill that would make texting and driving a primary offense for drivers under the age of 18.

 

Each of these new bills focus on the biggest perpetrators of texting and driving: teens. Texting and driving is most prevalent among teenagers, and when you combine it with their inexperience on the road, texting makes teenagers the most dangerous group of drivers.

 

For Now, Texting Is Still a Secondary Offense

 

For Now, Texting Is Still a Secondary Offense

It may be a few months until these bills become law and police are able to pull over any drivers who text. Until then, Florida is sure to see high numbers of drivers distracted by their phones.

 

The delay has to feel extremely frustrating for anyone who has actually been injured or had a loved one hurt because another driver was texting. If police officers had been allowed to pull over the distracted driver, the injury might have been prevented.

 

Unfortunately, our state just hasn’t gotten there yet, but there is still a way to hold the other driver accountable: file a personal injury lawsuit. Win and you will not only receive needed compensation that can help you to cover the cost of your medical bills and other damages, you’ll call attention to an important issue and hopefully prevent others from being hurt.

 

How do you do it?

 

Using Texting against a Driver Who Hurt You

 

After an auto accident, you should always collect as much information and as many details as you can about what the driver was doing before the accident and what damage they caused. The following pieces of evidence can prove that a driver was texting before an accident:

 

  • Take Pictures of the Interior of the Car: If you can take a picture of the inside of the driver’s vehicle, you may have some clues about what the driver was doing and what could have distracted them.
  • Gather Testimony from Passenger or Witness: In the aftermath of an accident, a passenger or witness may not think of the consequences of the driver’s texting and driving. Passengers may be willing to tell you that the driver was sending a quick text, or reaching for their phone, before the accident occurred. Witnesses around the highway or neighborhood may also be able to testify that they saw the driver on their phone before the accident.
  • The Time of Day: Determining the time of the accident can help you if you or your lawyer get access to the driver’s phone records. Texts sent immediately before an accident can show causation. Texts sent in the few minutes before the accident will help you show a judge that the driver had been acting in a negligent fashion throughout their car ride and before the accident.

 

South Florida Distracted Driving Lawyer

Need more information on how you can use a driver’s texting habits to get compensation for your damages and losses? Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Which Is More Dangerous - Distracted Driving or DUI

Which Is More Dangerous: Distracted Driving or DUI?

Which Is More Dangerous - Distracted Driving or DUI

Most of us probably have at least one ad campaign, billboard, or commercial about dangerous driving habits in the back of our minds when we get behind the wheel.

 

Controversial and shocking ads about dangerous driving are commonly created to scare people into practicing safe driving habits. Over the past few decades, the most typical “scare ads” revolved around drunk driving. In recent years, however, you may have noticed a shift. Ads about the dangers of drinking and driving have been widely replaced by ads about the dangers of texting and driving.

 

A quick text to a friend may seem harmless compared to an entire drive under the influence of alcohol, but statistics suggest that texting and driving – a well as other forms of distracted driving – is actually beginning to cause more danger and more deaths each year.

 

So which is more dangerous: distracted driving or driving under the influence?

 

Before we get into the statistics, let’s get something clear. Both are wrong, and both are dangerous. Why?

 

Anything that takes your eyes off the road puts you in danger. You may not be able to see a car ahead of you that is stopped, a pedestrian, or roadblocks if you are looking down at your phone or focusing your attention on another passenger. Moreover, if you’re driving at 55 miles per hour, you can cross an entire football field in the time that it takes to read a text (5 seconds).

 

Driving after drinking is dangerous because alcohol impairs your judgment. It’s as simple as that. Research has even shown that this happens after just one drink. Have a few drinks and your motor functions begin to work slower as well.

 

The combination of these two things – attention and judgment – is critical for safe driving.

 

DUI vs. Distracted Driving – The Stats

 

DUI vs. Distracted Driving – The Stats

Driving under the influence kills a shocking 27 people every day in the United States. Moreover, by the time someone has a BAC of .08, they are three times more likely to get into a car accident than a sober person.

 

Comparatively, distracted driving kills eight people every day in the United States.

 

Seems like drunk driving “wins,” right?

 

Not so fast.

 

Texting while driving takes more teenagers’ lives than any other driving habit. In fact, it takes more teenagers’ lives than any other cause of death.

 

Worse, the dangers and statistics don’t stop teenagers from texting behind the wheel. Half of all teen drivers still admit to texting while driving. If you have a teenager, be sure to talk to them about how to be safe when they’re in the driver’s seat.

 

Not sure how? We have some helpful tips on how to talk to your teen here.

 

Now let’s look at older adults. Drivers under the age of 25 are three times as likely to be texting behind the wheel when compared to older drivers, but that does not mean that older adults are safe from the dangers of texting and driving.

 

This is a problem that affects everyone. In a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69% of drivers admitted to talking on the phone and 31% admitted to reading or sending a text message behind the wheel in the past 30 days before the survey was conducted. If you are texting while driving, you are 23 times more likely to get into a car crash.

 

Also remember that these are just some ways that people can engage in distracted driving. Eating food, applying makeup, and talking to passengers are all forms of distracted driving as well. We even wrote a blog post a few months ago about the dangers of playing Pokemon Go and driving.

 

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about distracted driving, though, is that so many people think it’s not that big of a deal. Others should do it, but they can handle it. A big part of the problem is that in most place our laws are quite lax.

 

Consequences for Texting and Driving in Florida

 

Consequences for Texting and Driving in Florida

Yes, texting and driving here is illegal. However, you can’t get pulled over for it. You have to commit another traffic violation, such as running a red light or a stop sign. Only then can a police officer slap on a small additional fine if you are caught texting and driving.

 

This fine is laughable compared to the thousands of dollars that we face in DUI-related fines. It’s something that likely will change eventually, but until then it’s not likely that police will be able to catch a majority of distracted drivers out on the road.

 

If there is a small silver lining, it’s this. Get into an accident with someone who has been texting and driving and it’s a very good argument that they were acting in a negligent manner.

 

Because of this, you can file a lawsuit against them for any damages that you suffer in the crash. Of course, getting compensation isn’t guaranteed. You’re going to need evidence and documentation to prove your case, and the personal injury laws in our state can be complicated and confusing.

 

If you have incurred damages due to the negligent behavior of another driver, get in contact with a Florida distracted driving attorney immediately.

 

A New Kind of Distracted Driving - Pokemon Go

A New Kind of Distracted Driving: Pokemon Go

A New Kind of Distracted Driving - Pokemon Go

Have you started playing Pokemon Go yet?

 

The new smartphone app has quickly taken the country by storm. It is estimated that over 9 million Americans are playing the game every day.

 

Based off of the popular trading card game and television show from the early 2000s, Pokemon Go uses GPS mapping technologies to lead you around your town or city to catch Pokemon and visit different Pokestops. As evidenced by the 9+ million users, it’s become an instant hit with smartphone users of all ages.

 

It’s not hard to see how this game would be both addictive and very, very distracting. Users might not want to put down their phone when a Pikachu or other rare Pokemon could pop onto their screens at any time. If smartphone users weren’t glued to their screens while walking through town or commuting to work before, they sure are now.

 

When you’re driving or walking around busy roads, however, it’s time to take a break from Pokemon Go. Though the game has only been around for a few weeks, it has already caused the following incidents:

 

  • A 22-year old girl in the suburbs of Pittsburgh was playing Pokemon go when she stepped out onto a highway and was hit by a car.
  • A driver in Auburn, N.Y. hit a tree while playing Pokemon Go and broke his ankle.
  • A car in Baltimore hit a police vehicle while the driver was playing Pokemon Go. (Luckily, no one was injured, but the driver was rather embarrassed.)

 

Stories like these have made national news, and state and local law enforcement have begun to urge citizens to put down the app while driving or walking near roads. Ride sharing apps have begun to offer incentives to Pokemon Go hunters, urging them not to drive while they go out Pokemon hunting. It’s no secret that the mobile app is quickly replacing texting as the most common, and most dangerous, form of distracted driving.

 

Distracted Driving Laws in Florida

 

Distracted driving has become a hot topic in auto safety recently with the rising rates of texting and driving (and the rising rates of fatal distracted driving accidents.) Distracted driving is any form of activity that diverts your attention away from the road: eating, talking to other passengers, and using a cell phone are all forms of distracted driving. Accidents caused by distracted driving result in an average of 8 deaths and over 1,000 injuries a day.

 

There are no legal penalties for playing Pokemon Go and driving. The recent legislation in Florida that has made texting and driving a traffic violation only applies to sending and receiving messages, not hunting for Pokemon. However, if you play Pokemon Go and get in an accident, you may have to pay for injuries.

 

Florida Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

How Pokemon Go Might Cost Thousands

 

Florida is a “no-fault” auto accident state. This means you have to carry personal injury protection (PIP). In the case of an auto accident, your insurance will cover your damages even if the accident was your fault.

 

However, if damages exceed $10,000 or the auto accident causes permanent bodily injury, scarring, or disfigurement, the victims have the option to file a claim against the other driver and sue for the remaining damages. In this situation, fault will be assigned and it will be determined how much each party must pay to cover damages.

 

When it comes to driving, hunting Pokemon is negligence, plain and simple. If you are injured by a negligent Pokemon Go player, reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer today to get the compensation you need.