The widespread use of mobile devices has caused distracted driving to become one of America’s greatest health crises. With the prevalence of in-vehicle entertainment systems and navigation devices, the temptation to take one’s eyes off the road is greater than ever. Now, trendy apps are providing yet another source of distraction, and the effects are staggering. When distracted drivers cause injuries, a Seminole County car accident attorney can hold them accountable for this dangerous conduct.
Distracted Driving is a Particular Problem in Florida
Action News Jax reports that an estimated 50,000 crashes - or approximately five crashes every hour - were caused by distracted driving in Florida in 2016. Florida’s distracted driving numbers are significantly worse than nearly all other states. In fact, according to the Miami Herald, Florida ranked second-worst in a ranking of all fifty states’ distracted driving statistics. In an interview, the director of communications for the insurance company which sponsored the study noted that Vermont - which ranked lowest in distracted driving incidents - has tough laws preventing the dangerous habit. Florida, on the other hand, is one of only four states that do not make texting and driving a primary offense. This makes the law difficult to enforce, because police officers cannot stop distracted drivers unless a separate traffic violation has been observed.
These statistics are more than simple numbers to the family members whose lives are devastated by the tragic loss of a distracted driving victim. WTXL reports on the story of a man whose 19-year-old son was killed by the driver of a van who was not paying attention to the road. Now, the father travels to Florida high schools, spreading the message that distracted driving can kill. He hopes to help Florida’s youngest drivers see the danger of allowing themselves to become distracted by mobile devices while behind the wheel.
The Particular Problem of Trendy Apps
The problem of distracted driving is exacerbated by the use of trendy applications for mobile devices. In a study reported by the Social Science Research Network, researchers at Purdue University found staggering increases in distracted driving following the release of the Pokémon GO app. Their estimates valued these losses at $2 to $7.3 billion dollars nationwide within the first six months after the application was released.
Other popular applications also have the potential to distract a substantial number of drivers. When accidents result from this kind of distracted driving, an insurance company or jury may find that the driver was negligent for failing to pay attention to current road conditions. Drivers who have been found negligent have a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for the financial losses sustained in an accident resulting from that negligence. These financial losses can include pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. Other financial losses can also be subject to compensation if it is proven that they were the direct result of the accident caused by the negligent driver. Consult with a Seminole County car accident attorney as soon as possible after any accident to prevent the lapse of the statute of limitations (four years in Florida personal injury cases and two years for wrongful death).