Distracted driving is anything the driver does besides driving when they are behind the wheel of the car. Whether it is eating a sandwich, brushing hair, adjusting mirrors, texting, or picking out music to play, these are all forms of distraction that can raise the chance of causing an accident.
Teenage drivers are more likely to get distracted while driving, and many times it is due to cellphone use. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers in this country. The combination of lack of experience and greater use of cellphones among teens makes for a deadly combination.
Statistics reveal that 80% of all car accidents happen due to distracted driving, and 58% of crashes involving teens are because of driver distraction. While there is a wide range in the number of fatalities and cause of accidents around the country, Florida has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle deaths.
How distraction affects driving ability
Distracted driving can be manual, visual, or cognitive. Looking at a text or email takes the driver’s eye off the road for five seconds or more, and it takes 13 seconds for the brain to refocus on the tasks at hand. Once the driver is distracted, it can take just three seconds for an accident to happen.
According to a survey released by NHTSA, on any given day 660,000 drivers are using a cellphone while operating their vehicle. Teens aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely to have an accident while driving distracted, and 21% of the time, they are distracted by a phone.
The repercussions of distracted driving
Getting a ticket for a traffic violation can raise the driver’s insurance premiums by as much as $290 a year, and if the driver was found at-fault in a personal injury claim, they may be forced to purchase high risk auto insurance.
Although auto insurance in Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system, a victim of a car wreck that was due to another driver’s distracted driving may also pursue a liability claim in civil court if their injuries or damages exceed what insurance will cover. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, residents of Lakeland can find out more about their available options and the best way to proceed when filing a claim.