The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that distracted driving leads to a significant increase in the risk of a Sarasota motor vehicle accident. Distracted driving is defined by the NHTSA as any non-driving activity that a driver engages in while driving a car, truck, or motorcycle. As an illustration of just how widespread this problem truly is, at any given moment over 800,000 drivers are simultaneously operating their vehicle while talking on or otherwise using a hand-held cell phone.
Distracted driving resulting in Sarasota car crashes can be broken down into three categories:
- Visual distractions cause the driver to take their eyes away from the road that they are traveling on.
- Manual distractions cause the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distractions involve the driver's mind focusing on something other than operating the vehicle.
Some activities fall into more than one category. For example, drinking a cup of coffee causes both a visual and manual distraction. Further, the longer the driver engages in the distracting activity, the higher the risk of crash.
What types of devices and activities cause Sarasota drivers to be distracted? Examples include the following:
- Talking on a cell phone, including hands-free options like headsets, speakerphones, and Bluetooth systems
- Operating or following a navigation system
- Listening to or playing an iPod or mp3 player
- Using a personal digital organizer
- Talking to passengers
- Applying makeup
- Listening to portable DVD players
According to distraction.gov, the United States Government website for distracted driving, 20 percent of car crashes involving injuries were attributed to some form of distracted driving in 2009. During that same year, 16 percent of all fatal accidents involved distracted driving. That number was a 6 percent increase from 2005, which may potentially be attributed toan increase in the use of portable technology,such as cell phones with internet and texting capabilities, as well as navigation systems.
In response to the widespread problem of distracted driving, many states have enacted laws banning certain activities, including cell phone use. Florida does not currently prohibit or restrict the use of cell phones while driving. Texting is not banned and drivers are not required to use hands-free devices. However, a recent bill was passed by the Florida legislature that would require education for new drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.
For more informationabout distracted driving, contact an experienced Sarasota car accident lawyer by completing our online submission form or calling our office at (888) 409-3805. Our office is pleased to offer complimentary consultations.