Getting into a car accident is no fun. What makes it even more frustrating is if the other driver was at fault due to a distraction. Everyone would like to believe that other drivers on the road are paying attention, but that isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, distracted driving is extremely hard to prove.
Common Driving Distractions
There are many ways to get distracted while driving. The three main categories of distractions are as follows:
- Manual Distractions: Things that cause the driver to take their hands off the wheel
- Visual Distractions: Things that distract the driver’s vision
- Cognitive Distractions: Things that distract the driver’s mind
Some examples of common distractions include:
- Texting or scrolling social media
- Speaking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Car dashboard screen or GPS
- Putting on makeup
- Talking to passengers or tending to children
- Reading or watching a video
- Changing toe radio station/volume/air
Distracted Driving in Florida
According to a study by EverDrive, a motion sensor app that scores your driving, Florida was found to be the second worst state for distracted driving in the U.S.
Additional data from the FLHSMV found that:
- In 2016, there were nearly 50,000 crashes in Florida due to distracted driving. More than 20,000 of these crashes were caused by drivers under 30 years of age.
- In 2017, distracted driving accidents caused over 3,500 injuries and 233 fatalities.
- From 2013 to 2017, distracted driving crashes increased by 26%.
- According to a 2018 study, 42% of car trips in Florida involved cell phone use.
- From 2010-2018, approximately 3,000 people died every year due to distracted driving, according to the CDC.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a campaign called Put It Down: Focus on Driving. There are two accompanying laws that went into effect in 2019, called “The Wireless Communications While Driving Law”. Law enforcement can issue citations if either of these laws are broken:
- Section 316.305: Drivers are prohibited from texting or emailing while operating a car.
- Section 316.306: Drivers are prohibited from using a handheld device while driving in school or construction zones.
Florida has also attempted to combat the problem by adding signs that designate certain rest areas and plazas along the highway as “safe phone zones”, encouraging divers to pull into these areas if they need to use their phone.
What To Do After an Accident
Right after a car accident, you should always call the police. You’ll want an official police report about the incident, and it will be helpful if the officer examines the scene and collects testimonials. Then, if you don’t need to seek immediate medical attention, see if you can spot anything at the scene that would indicate the other driver was distracted. For example, if you see the driver holding a distracting item or see it on the seat next to them, try and take a photo.
Distracted driving accidents can be difficult to prove. To win a lawsuit, you must possess hard evidence that shows the other driver was distracted and therefore caused the accident. Here are some ways to provide evidence.
Key witnesses who saw the crash can be extremely helpful in a distracted driving case. If the police arrive on the scene and interview the driver, they may deny any distractions, but witnesses may have seen otherwise. If someone near the scene of the crash can testify that the driver was distracted, make sure to get their contact information.
The drivers’ phone records can be accessed to see if they were using their phone at the time of the crash. Experts can look into whether a notification popped up right before the crash, or maybe the driver posted on social media moments before. Your lawyer will be able to figure this information out or hire a technology expert to do so.
The vehicle itself may have data that shows if the dashboard display screen was being used at the time of the collision, or even how fast the car was traveling. All of this data could provide clues about what caused the accident.
Dash Cams or Traffic Cams
Video evidence is probably the best form of evidence you can have. If you have dash cams in your car, review the footage and see if they caught the crash. Additionally, there could be traffic cameras nearby that caught the accident on video.
Ultimately, if you believe your car accident was caused by a distracted driver, you should contact a distracted driving accident lawyer in Florida such as Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner. Attorneys who specialize in auto accidents can help you gather the evidence you need to win your case.