Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the most pervasive and dangerous public health risks in the United States. While many researchers stress the dangers of smartphones, navigation systems, and in-vehicle entertainment units, there are many other ways in which a driver can become distracted.
Popular tourist destinations such as West Palm Beach attract many drivers who are unfamiliar with the area. The task of navigating unfamiliar roads while responding to traffic conditions is also a distraction that can lead to accidents. Both visitors and residents of West Palm Beach should be aware of these risks in order to reduce the chances of being involved in a distracted driving accident.
The Facts About Distracted Driving in Florida
The Villages-News reports on 2017 accident data across the State of Florida. Preliminary estimates find that nearly 50,000 accidents across the state in 2017 involved distracted driving. That is nearly 137 distracted driving accidents every day. That is also an increase of approximately 25 percent since 2013.
Part of the problem is due to a loophole in Florida’s texting while driving ban. Currently, Florida is one of only seven states which do not make texting while driving a primary offense. This means that an officer cannot actually stop a driver for texting while driving; a ticket can only be issued in a stop for another offense, such as speeding or failing to yield. The Sun-Sentinel reports that a bill was introduced into the state legislature this year to make texting while driving a primary offense. Despite passing the House of Representatives with overwhelming support in a 112-2 vote, the bill quickly died in the state Senate.
One Senate committee chair expressed privacy concerns as well as the possibility that minority defendants would be treated unfairly in the enforcement of such a law. While these concerns should certainly be addressed, they do not change the fact that primary enforcement laws tend to be more effective at reducing distracted driving than secondary enforcement laws. CBS News reports on a study which found accident reduction rates to be higher in states with primary enforcement laws than secondary enforcement laws.
Distracted driving can lead to consequences which affect an injury victim for months or even years after an accident. Some victims will never fully recover. The law provides compensation for all the losses a victim suffers. Pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills are some of the most common areas of compensation. David J. Glatthorn has extensive experience \helping car accident victims access compensation for their injuries and losses.