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 1 Texting & 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 2 Texting & 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.



Teen Drivers: Why Floridians Should Steer Clear This Season

Teen Drivers: Why Floridians Should Steer Clear This Season

Teen Drivers: Why Floridians Should Steer Clear This Season

In one recent Ohio accident, a 17-year-old driver was speeding and overcorrected, which ejected two teens from the vehicle and injured the other passengers. One of those teens was killed in the crash.

The reason the driver was speeding? The teens were running late to prom.

Over 5,000 teens are injured in car accidents every year across the nation during prom and graduation season, and one-third of teen driver accidents involve alcohol use. A full one-third of people under age 21 who die in accidents do so during graduation season, and many of them die in car accidents. Because of this, the months of April, May, and June are known as the most dangerous months for teens to be on the road.

It doesn’t end with teens, though – all Florida drivers need to be cautious. Even in the best of times, teens don’t typically drive with the same caution older drivers use. They take more risks and are less likely to make responsible choices in sudden situations. Teens are much more likely to be distracted drivers due to phone use, conversations, and peer pressure from teen passengers.

Now imagine that magnified by the lure of high school ending and the freedom of adulthood coming. Of teens wanting to have one last hurrah with their friends before they head off to college. That’s where we are right now.

Drinking and Driving on Prom or Graduation Night

Too many teens choose to celebrate these important life events with binge drinking. On graduation night, the percentage of alcohol-related fatal accidents moves up from 33 percent to 40 percent.

Teens often underestimate the risks of drunk driving. They may assume that someone at the party hasn’t had anything to drink and is safe to drive, but that’s frequently not the case.

If you are in an accident with a teen driver, the teen’s negligence may have caused your injuries, and you owe it to yourself and your family to hold them accountable for their actions and sue for compensation.

Understanding Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against a teen, here are the basics of car accident laws in Florida.

First, you must file a claim within four years of the date of the accident. If you don’t file within four years, you have no rights to compensation.

The court system will look at all parties involved in the accident and assign percentages of fault to each party. Your compensation will be reduced according to your percentage of fault.

For example, if you were speeding when the accident occurred, you may be held responsible for 20 percent of the accident. If the court decides to award you $100,000 for your injuries, that means the maximum amount you can actually receive under the pure comparative negligence rule is $80,000.

South Florida DUI Accident Lawyers

Florida also has a no-fault insurance law, which means that each driver is covered first by $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance. This applies no matter who is at fault for the accident. You can file for additional compensation only if the accident caused serious injuries. The courts also place caps on the amount of damages you can recover.

Want to learn more? Reach out today for a free consultation. One of our skilled Florida injury attorneys will be able to look at the facts of your case and tell you what options are available to you. 

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.

No Texting While Driving

Harsher Penalties for Texting While Driving Coming?

No Texting While Driving
There is no arguing that texting and driving has become a serious cause of automobile accidents in the United States. So much so, in fact, that it has actually become a front-burner issue for a number of organizations, from branches of the government to cellphone companies. “It can wait” bumper stickers are popping up on cars everywhere, and all across the nation, laws are being developed to prevent and discourage texting while driving.


Florida is no exception. There are laws on the books against texting while driving, and now Florida’s anti-texting and driving campaign seems to be picking up speed as multiple new bills are set to appear before Florida Legislature this spring, as reported by News-Press.


Texting and Driving Laws in Florida


Dangers of Distracted Driving

As mentioned above, it is already against the law to text while driving in Florida. However, doing so is only a secondary offence, meaning that police officers can offer citations for it only if the driver was pulled over for another reason. According to News-Press, the new bills that are set to appear before Legislature this spring would serve to enhance those existing laws. Some new laws that these bills seek to enact include:


  • Making texting while driving a primary offense, so that texting and driving itself would be an acceptable reason to pull a person over
  • Imposing a criminal penalty on any driver who was using a cell phone at the time of a fatal accident
  • Forbidding all cell phone use when driving in school zones


If even one of these bills passes, it could seriously change things for Florida drivers. If drivers continue to text while driving, the consequences they face could be severe, from paying fines and doing community service to serving significant jail time. The increased accountability implied in all the proposed laws means that Florida drivers would have to be more cautious and more aware.


Dangers of Distracted Driving


In the United States, distracted driving is a problem of almost epidemic proportions. Anything from using a GPS, to traveling with a pet, to eating or drinking while driving can count as distracted driving, and all forms of distracted driving are extremely dangerous—not only for other drivers, but for pedestrians as well.


Still, however, men and women continue to drive while distracted, and the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths that occur as a result continues to climb. According to


  • As of 2012, 78% of teens and young adults say they have read a text message while driving, and 71% say they have composed or sent text messages while driving.
  • As of 2012, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
  • A person’s eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds while texting. If you’re traveling at 55mph, five seconds is enough time to cover the length of an entire football field.
  • Texting while driving enhances a person’s chance of getting into in a car crash by 23%.


Due in no small part to these statistics, “Take the pledge” campaigns gained a lot of popularity in recent years. According to, over 5 million people have signed their pledge to not text and drive. Clearly, drivers are aware of how dangerous it can be to text and drive. Yet far too many of them still do.


And other drivers and pedestrians on the road are suffering the consequences. Injuries that result from distracted driving accidents are many and varied, and they can be traumatizing not only to the victims but to their families and friends as well. Victims who have been hurt in distracted driving accidents may not only suffer the inconvenience of a damaged or totaled vehicle, they may also have to deal with personal injury in myriad forms—from minor cuts and bruises to lost limbs or disfigurement.


Hit by A Distracted Driver?


Boca Raton Auto Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who was texting while driving, one of the first steps you take should be to speak to a qualified legal representative. Texting and driving is illegal and if you’ve been injured as a result of a distracted driver, you were injured by someone who was breaking the law. That person needs to be brought to justice, not only for your sake but also for the sake of other drivers and pedestrians who are at risk because of his or her negligence. Contact the law offices of Sootsky, Perez & Braxton today to get the compensation you need and put your life back on track.





Don't Text and Drive

“Happy” Text Has Grim Outcome for North Carolina Woman

Don't Text and Drive

Despite the overwhelming evidence that texting while driving is dangerous, all too many drivers are still deciding that using their smartphones can’t wait until they get to their destination. One of the latest tragic tales of a texting accident comes from North Carolina, where a young woman died seconds after posting a Facebook status about Pharrell Williams’ popular song “Happy.”


Police believe that 32-year-old Courtney Ann Sanford was driving in High Point, NC, when she posted the Facebook comment “The happy song makes me so HAPPY” at 8:33 pm on April 24th. Less than a minute after that comment went live, the High Point Police Department received a call about a car accident. The collision occurred when Sanford crossed the center median and drove headlong into an oncoming truck. The truck driver, 73-year-old John Wallace Thompson, was thankfully not injured, but Sanford’s Toyota Corolla caught on fire, and Sanford died at the scene.


Investigators found that Sanford was wearing a seat belt, but that it wasn’t secured properly. Police have also determined that she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that the most likely cause of the accident was Sanford’s use of her cell phone. High Point Lieutenant Chris Weisner said of this preventable tragedy, “In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy. As sad as it is, it is a grim reminder for everyone… you just have to pay attention while you are in the car.”


Despite Texting Bans, Distracted Driving is Still a Problem


Distracted Driving

In January 2014, Pew Research reported that 90% of American adults own a cell phone, and 58% of American adults have a smartphone. We’re living in a constantly connected culture, where people have become used to being able to reach their friends and family or access the internet wherever they go—even if they’re behind the wheel.


With anywhere from 387,000 to 421,000 Americans being injured in distracted driving-related accidents each year, state laws are finally beginning to catch up and discourage risky driving behavior. 43 states, as well as DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, currently ban all texting while driving (Florida enacted a texting ban just this last October). 12 states also prohibit the use of all handheld phones while driving, although hands-free devices like those that use Bluetooth are still acceptable.


Unfortunately, the penalties for texting and driving vary from state to state and are often not severe enough to deter drivers who are truly determined to use their phone while they’re on the go. In Florida, for example, texting while driving is only a secondary offense (meaning a police officer has to have a primary reason for pulling a driver over before ticketing them for texting), and a first-time offense results in a fine of $30—little more than a slap on the wrist. In North Carolina, where Sanford’s accident occurred, texting while driving is a primary offense, and violators face a $100 fine, as well as court costs. Although North Carolina’s law is stricter than Florida’s, it still was not a strong enough deterrent to keep Sanford from using Facebook while driving.


Technology distractions are still a huge problem for drivers, with the CDC estimating that 1 in 5 crashes resulting in injuries were caused by distracted driving. In spite of texting bans and statistics that prove how hazardous distracted driving is, drivers who want to use their phone continue to get into the mindset that they’re capable of multitasking behind the wheel.


We Think We Can Multitask (But We Can’t)


Talking on a Cellphone While Driving

Perhaps one of the most common rationales behind texting and driving is that the driver thinks they are “good at multitasking.” They may think that they’ve got glancing back and forth between their screen and the road down to a science, and that their acute perception makes them better at texting while driving than other people on the road.


In reality, the human brain doesn’t multitask in the way many of us think it does. David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, has been working to bust the myth that people can successfully juggle multiple tasks at once. He told Psychology Today, “Our brains don’t do two things at once; instead, we rapidly switch between tasks, putting heavy burdens on attention, memory, and focus.” He added, “Talking on a cellphone while driving (perhaps the most ubiquitous type of multi-tasking) leaves people as cognitively impaired as if they’d had two or three drinks.”


Note that Mr. Strayer is discussing talking on the phone, an activity that doesn’t even take a driver’s eyes off the road. Texting or posting social media updates, which take a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds, obviously creates an even bigger impairment.


What Will Get Drivers to Stop Texting?


Although it was a horrible event, Sanford’s fatal accident – which received wide coverage due to its tragic irony—will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to other drivers who have thus far paid little attention to state texting bans. Sanford’s accident shows just how quickly someone can go from using their phone while driving to losing their life, all because they couldn’t wait until they parked to update their Facebook status.


We can only hope that these personal, emotional stories hit home more than distracted driving statistics and texting laws have so far. Anyone who has ever texted or updated their Facebook status while driving should reflect on Sanford’s accident. Maybe doing this will help them to recognize that they put themselves and other drivers in a potentially dangerous situation by allowing technology to distract them. While many of us consider it a modern necessity to constantly be available to our online contacts, we need to remember that no matter what message we need to share, it can always wait until we get to our destination or find a spot to safely pull over.



Texting While Driving

New Technology Promises to Prevent Texting and Driving

Texting While Driving

Because cell phones and other mobile devices have become so well-integrated into our daily routines, we’ve grown accustomed to using them every chance we get—even behind the wheel. Whether out of reflex or a feeling of need to continue a conversation occurring via text, we do it all too often.


But the risk of texting or checking a phone while driving is too high. In fact, the time it takes for someone to glance down at their phone or text a reply is approximately 4.6 seconds, which is commonly compared to driving the length of a football field. That’s like putting a blindfold on when you’re behind the wheel for almost five seconds. Most people wouldn’t dream of doing that, but for some reason using a phone while driving is seen as perfectly okay by many.


According to studies conducted by experts, you are 23 times more likely to be in an accident if you are texting while driving compared to driving while not distracted. Today, 39 states in the U.S. have banned sending texts while driving. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 1,600,000 accidents per year are caused by texting while driving, in addition to 330,000 injuries per year and about 11 teen deaths every day. In fact, 25% of all car accidents that occur are texting-while-driving related.


Technology Companies Step In… To Block Technology


That is why big cellphone companies such as Verizon and AT&T have created numerous awareness campaigns and educational programs in order to get people, especially teens, to pledge never to text while driving. Some companies have also invented apps that claim to prevent distracted driving accidents from occurring.


Verizon’s new app, for example, called Safely Go, automatically receives and responds to calls and texts so that the driver can remain focused and responsible while on the road. AT&T’s Drive Mode limits the extra features on your phone and automatically sends pre-set replies to incoming texts,letting people know that you are driving. Additionally, the app blocks you from reading or typing anything and further silences all calls, texts, and emails. But these innovations go beyond cellphone companies trying to fix a problem they had a hand in creating – lots of other companies are getting involved as well: actually reads your texts, calls, or emails aloud and responds to them either by voice or with pre-set responses.


Textecution uses a GPS to determine speed and will automatically disable texting if you are traveling more than 10 mph.


Text-STARalso senses motion and disables texting when going above 10 mph, but goes above and beyond this by allowing you to schedule auto-reply texts in advance if you plan to be driving at a later time.


tXtBlocker allows users to go a different route by customizing the locations and times of day (such as typical commuting or driving times) when they don’t want texts and phone calls to be accepted.


Technology Can Help, but People Are Still Responsible


Car Accident Attorney

The Verizon website states, “Experience teaches us that technology innovation will provide more opportunities to address public safety issues like texting and driving.” However, it’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these apps rely mostly on the drivers’ willing and effective use of them as tools to keep themselves focused on the road. Nevertheless, there will always be distracted people on the road, and if one of them hits you, it’s vital that you get the expert legal help you need as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.


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.