Based on the latest statistics, there is no doubt that distracted drivers are a huge problem throughout the state of Florida. According to the 2015 numbers provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were almost 46,000 car crashes where distracted driving played a role last year. In some areas, as many as eight out of ten accidents involved distracted drivers, according to Ken Watson of the Florida Highway Patrol.

How common is distracted driving?

More than 12 percent of all car accidents in Florida during 2015 occurred when at least one of the drivers was not giving the road their full attention. These distracted driving crashes led to 39,396 injuries and 214 deaths last year in Florida alone.

Local statistics for distracted driving crashes include:

  • Broward County: 3,762 accidents, leading to 2,967 injuries and eight fatalities
  • Miami-Dade County: 4,445 accidents, with 3,227 injuries and 16 deaths
  • Palm Beach County: 2,194 crashes, causing 1,656 injuries and seven deaths

What actions has Florida taken to combat texting and driving?

While driving distractions can include anything from eating to changing the radio station to talking to passengers, there is little doubt that texting drivers are a serious concern.

Florida law has banned texting while driving; unfortunately, it is only a secondary offense meaning officers must stop drivers for another reason to be able to cite them for texting. This law includes almost all non-voice communication that utilizes technology, including texting, instant messaging, social media, surfing the Web, and emailing.

Even though officers have to see the driver committing another infraction, police do issue citations for drivers who cause accidents or commit moving violations while texting. It is a start, but this number is small in comparison to the overall number of distracted drivers. Between October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2015, the total number of texting citations includes:

State-wide: 3488

Broward County: 402

Miami-Dade County: 689

Palm Beach County: 378

Is the law effective? 

The texting ban went into effect on October 1, 2013. Sadly, distracted driving crashes have only increased. Between January and December of 2013, there were only 39,036 distracted driving accidents in Florida compared to 2015’s 46,000.

What can I do to protect my family?

The biggest thing you can do to keep your family safe on Florida roads is to always focus on driving while behind the wheel. Avoid distracting activities such as:

  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Putting on makeup
  • Adjusting your iPod
  • Tuning the radio
  • Entering information in a navigation system
  • Turning to the backseat to talk to children

If you or your loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible to file a claim to recover compensation for the high costs of your recovery, missed work, and pain and suffering. A car accident attorney from the Montero Law Center can help you prove the other driver was negligent and get the compensation you need.

For more information, call the Montero Law Center in Ft. Lauderdale at 954-767-6500 to schedule a free case evaluation.