What Are the Texting and Driving Statistics in Florida for 2023?
Stopping distracted driving should be a top safety priority in Florida. The most recent statistics from the State Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recorded nearly 48,500 distracted driving crashes in the state in a single year. Those collisions killed 300 people and left 2,700 more with serious bodily injuries.
Understanding the scope of the problem is the first step towards finding a solution. Below, Martin Hernandez examines the most current data highlighting the prevalence of distracted driving and what accident victims can do if they are hurt.
How Many Drivers Are Using Their Cell Phones While Driving?
At any given moment, 660,000 drivers are using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Every year, about 400 fatal crashes are caused by texting and driving, according to the NHTSA.
How Many Texting and Driving Deaths Occur Per Year?
About 400 fatal crashes happen each year as a direct result of texting and driving. That number increases to over 30,000 when you consider distracted driving as a whole, according to the NHTSA. While texting and driving-specific crashes are decreasing in recent years, overall fatal crashes due to distracted driving are on the rise.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that one out of every three drivers knows someone or has a relative who was injured or killed in a car crash. What’s more, the study found that one-third of all drivers admit to regularly texting behind the wheel. It’s an unnecessary risk when it’s been proven that one out of every four accidents in the U.S. is the result of texting and driving.
The NHTSA says that about 36% of drivers with a smartphone use their phones at a red light or stop sign, increasing the likelihood of distracted driving even after you press on the gas. About 35% of drivers admit that they continue to use their phones even after they resume driving.
Not all cell phone use is attributed to simply driving, either. Social media always proves to be tempting fodder, and the flash of a breaking news headline can lift your eyes from the road before you even realize. Many drivers also use their phones for audio in their cars, relying upon apps like Pandora and Spotify for music and podcasts to entertain them on their travels. Even setting up or altering directions in a map application on your phone can be a source of diversion.
In the most recent available data, you can see that texting and driving deaths were on the rise in 2013, peaked in 2015 and 2016, and dropped in 2017.
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Is it Illegal to Text and Drive in Florida?
Yes, it is illegal to text and drive in Florida. Florida Statute Section 316.305 (also known as “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”) allows law enforcement to stop motor vehicles and issue citations to motorists that are texting and driving. A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email and instant message.
Is It Illegal To Hold Use A Phone In Florida?
Generally speaking, no but you CANNOT use a cellphone in school zones and work zones. Florida Staute section 316.306 is a prohibition on using wireless communications devices in a handheld manner in school and work zone. A person may not operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device in a handheld manner in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area. Active work zone, as it pertains to Section 316.306, Florida Statutes, means that construction personnel are present or are operating equipment on the road or immediately adjacent to the work zone area.
Is Texting And Driving More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving?
Yes, texting and driving is 300% more dangerous than drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2011, 3,300 people were killed and 416,000 people injured in traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. Texting accidents account for nearly 20% of all fatal crashes, making driving and texting 300% more dangerous than drunk driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined as anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or mind off driving.
Is Distracted Driving Dangerous?
Distracted Driving is extremely risky behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger.
What Is Texting and Driving?
The legal definition of texting while driving is when the driver uses a mobile phone to compose, send, or read text messages and other digital correspondence while operating a motor vehicle. Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving. There are three types of distracted driving:
- Visual distractions: This kind of distraction requires that you take your eyes off the road, caused by visual stimulants that avert your eyes.
- Manual distractions: A manual distraction requires the use of your hands, causing you to give up control of the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions: These distractions occupy your mind, carrying your thoughts away from driving and onto other matters.
Texting driving is particularly dangerous because it requires all three.
What Are The Dangers of Texting and Driving?
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) says that it takes about five seconds to read a text. During that time, you drive about the length of a football field at around 55mph, which is 360 feet — quite a long way to have your eyes off the road. The issue is not just the momentary lapse in attention, but also the additional time it takes for your eyes to adjust back to the road and the other cars around you.
Are Young Drivers More Likely To Text And Drive?
Teens and young drivers are especially susceptible to the dangers of texting and driving when they have fewer years of experience under their belt. This inexperience, coupled with a lack of advanced driving skills, can equate to more accidents, and sadly, more fatalities amongst this age group.
In addition to doubling your chances of an accident, texting while driving can triple your risk of other incidents on the road:
- Driving over the curb
- Departing from the roadway
- Collisions with trees, poles, signs, and other items
Other drivers are not the only ones that you risk hurting on the road. The NHTSA reports that in 2018, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists were all killed by distracted driving.
Is There Safe Driving Technology For Your Cell Phone?
Modern technology is increasing the options for safer communication. Apps like DriveMode sense how fast a person is going, silencing text and phone alerts above 15 mph when a person is assumed to be in a car. Other apps allow drivers to compete against each other for the safest driving habits, or earn insurance discount for reducing their risk on the road.
Most cell phones will now read your texts aloud to you with a simple prompt of “read my text messages”, and most keyboards now offer a voice-to-text tool that allows users to speak their texts instead of typing them.
What Age Groups Are the Highest Risk for Texting And Driving?
All age groups are guilty of texting and driving, but data from the NHTSA shows that there are some groups that are far more active than others.
Drivers between the ages of 20 and 29 far exceed the usage of older adults, with the 30-39 group ages 15-19 also showing greater cell phone use while driving. The risk of texting and driving begins to decrease after 39, showing that drivers ages 40 years and up are more responsible on the road and less likely to end up in a car crash due to texting and driving.
Use your phone’s features.
Today many phone manufacturers help deter texting and driving and by offering a “Do Not Disturb” function. Popular on phones like Apple, you can set your phone to a quiet mode that silences incoming notifications while the feature is enabled. You will still receive messages, but they are held for later review so you aren’t constantly distracted by the flashing of repeated text and email notifications. You can also enable these settings to send an automated text response to calls or incoming messages that you are driving and will answer later.
Set an example.
Don’t text behind the wheel when others are in your vehicle and refuse to respond to messages when you know a loved one is driving. For parents, this is essential with teen drivers present.
What Do You Do If You Have Been Injured By A Distracted Driver?
If you have been injured by a driver that was texting and driving or otherwise being injured by a distracted driver, call or text Tampa Auto Accident Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez at (813) 755-9500