One of the leading causes of car accidents is distracted driving. While distracted driving takes many forms, one of the more prevalent and dangerous distractions is cell phone use while driving. Numerous studies have shown that using a phone in any capacity while operating a motor vehicle leads to a higher risk of accident. Many states, including Florida, have begun to crack down on cell phone use while driving. In addition, distraction via cell phone use may form the basis for a valid negligence claim.
If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by a driver talking, texting or fiddling on their phone, you may feel frustrated that your life has been turned upside down by someone else’s carelessness. An accident caused by cell phone use is entirely preventable. However, it is impossible for the victim to predict if and when a cell phone-related car accident will occur. Following a car accident, you may be mired in astronomical medical bills, suffering from pain, and wondering if you’ll ever be able to return to work. Kaiser Romanello is a Parkland, Florida-based premier boutique personal injury law firm. Our attorneys have almost 30 years of combined experience representing South Florida clients who have been injured in car accidents. If you were the victim of an accident caused by a driver using a cell phone, we can assist you with evaluating the strength of your case, gathering evidence, discussing your legal options, and pursuing your best interests. This may mean negotiating with insurance companies or fighting for compensation at trial. For a free case evaluation, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kaiser Romanello today.
COMMON FORMS OF CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING
Many individuals are confident that they are able to multitask and therefore use multitasking as way to accomplish more in less time. However, a multitude of studies have shown that the brain does not function at 100% when an individual multitasks. The brain processes information slower and is more prone to make mistakes. This carries over to the road. A driver multitasking while operating a car is bound to make mistakes because his or her undivided attention is not on the road. It is absolutely imperative that drivers pay full attention to their surroundings while driving in order to avoid an accident. This involves both driving in a safe and reasonable manner as well as utilizing caution in order to spot and avoid others who are driving negligently or recklessly.
Increasing numbers of drivers are now glued to their phones while driving in even dangerous conditions. Common cell phone use while driving includes:
- Talking on the phone
- Checking or sending e-mails
- Playing games
- Checking apps
- Reading the news
- Scrolling through music playlists
- Video chatting
- Using GPS
PREVALENCE OF CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that at any given moment, 660,000 U.S. drivers are using their cell phones, and as cell phone ownership continues to multiply, so too will distracted driving figures. More than 3,300 people are killed each year due to cell phone use while driving, and 387,000 were injured. 28% of Americans have admitted to calling others while driving, and a whopping 52% of Americans routinely answer the phone when they receive a call while driving. This means that each year, approximately 50 million drivers are calling people while driving, and 102 million drivers are answering the phone. These figures do not account for the high incidence of texting while driving.
Teenagers are some of the more infamous culprits of cell phone use while driving. Some cell phones provide the option for parents to shut down use while the car is in motion. The application tracks when the cell phone appears to be on the move and locks the screen, only allowing the teen to use the phone when the car has stopped. This helps keep teens focused on the roads, not their phones.
FLORIDA CELL PHONE USE LAWS
Florida only recently instituted a limited ban against cell phone use while driving. Florida prohibits messaging while driving. However, it is still legal to make phone calls while driving.
According to 316.305 of the Florida Statutes, it is illegal to “manually type or enter multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters,” effectively banning all “texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.” This can also be construed as any activity involving the cell phone that utilizes the virtual keyboard, such as entering a phone number, playing a game or entering data into an application.
316.305 is a civil traffic offense that incurs a fine or potential points assessed against the driver’s Florida license. Cell phone use while driving is a nonmoving violation unless an accident occurs. A police officer can only pull a driver over and issue a ticket for cell phone use if the driver has committed another traffic violation such as speeding. This is therefore known as a secondary offense.
EXPERIENCED FLORIDA PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS PREPARED TO ZEALOUSLY REPRESENT CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS
Were you in a car accident caused by a distracted driving using a cell phone? Call Kaiser Romanello for a free consultation. We can investigate your claims, discuss your best course of action, and assist you in pursuing compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free appointment with our South Florida personal injury attorneys, contact Kaiser Romanello now.