In Longwood, Orlando Sanford, Altamonte Springs, and surrounding areas, there are concerns about driver distraction. One big area of concern is whether too many drivers are using their phones to text and talk while driving. Although Florida finally passed a texting ban recently, the ban has been criticized by many as being too weak since the fines are relatively low and since the law is not a primary enforcement law. A personal injury lawyer knows that this means police cannot pull a motorist over just for texting.
Questions about how to address distracted driving exist not just in Florida, but nationwide. April is Distracted Driving Month and it is a good time to address some of the issues and to carefully consider the best approaches to take to prevent distracted driving from happening.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month - Will Motorists Pay Attention?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration routinely runs monthly campaigns intended to draw attention to important road safety issues. In April, there is a distracted driving campaign called U Drive. U Text. U Pay. The campaign is, of course, intended to make sure motorists know the consequences of texting and driving.
The NHTSA's campaign has a public education component designed to help motorists become more informed about the significant risks that are associated with driving while distracted. The NHTSA wants motorists to know that:
- 10 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involved a driver who was distracted.
- 18 percent of crashes that caused injuries had a driver who was distracted behind the wheel.
- A total of 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes over the course of 2013 involved driver distraction.
- 10 percent of teen drivers ages 15 to 19 who got into fatal accidents were reportedly distracted at the time when the crash happened.
- A total of 244 teenagers between aged 15 and 19 lost their lives in distraction driving collisions.
- There were also 480 deaths of people not in vehicles (like pedestrians and bike riders) who were killed in collisions that distracted driving played a role in causing.
Although these statistics are troubling, they are just statistics- and many motorists are likely to forget them quickly if they pay any attention to them or even hear about them. Because statistics and education alone aren't enough to change people's minds and get them not to drive while distracted, the NHTSA campaign also has a law enforcement component.
During designated times during April's distracted driving awareness month, there is to be a coordinated push to enforce distracted driving laws. Of course, in Florida this is complicated by the fact that the laws are secondary enforcement laws. Still, motorists can see police on the road and hear about people getting tickets for texting and this can act as a deterrent.
There is also another complication through, and this one affects people nationwide. As Politico reports, there is not enough money being provided to local law enforcement to cover the costs of added enforcement. Without sufficient assistance from the federal government to fund these stepped-up enforcement campaigns, there may be no additional enforcement and motorists will likely avoid a ticket even if they are breaking the law. Many may even remain unaware that it is Distracted Driving Awareness month.
If you have been injured, contact Law Office of Scott M. Miller at https://www.scottmillerlawgroup.com or by calling (866) MILLER-5. Serving Longwood, Fla. and Orlando, as well as many other communities in Florida, including Sanford, Altamonte Springs, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Winter Park, Casselberry, Wekiva Springs, Maitland, Lake Mary, Heathrow and Eatonville.