Multiple news reports focusing on distracted driving often touch on the high rates of crashes associated with distraction. But unfortunately for some drivers who are concerned about the distracted driving risks in their state, little information on distracted driving crashes is made available.
According to recent news reports, more than 39,000 people were injured in auto accidents caused by distracted drivers in Florida in 2015.
To many experts, the numbers paint a very concerning picture.
According to safety advocates, while the number of registered distracted driving crashes is high, they do not reveal the several other accidents caused by distraction that were simply not registered as such. And while Florida passed a texting while driving ban about a year and a half ago, law enforcement in the state have only issued 34 citations. The fact distracted driving is a secondary offense makes it hard for officers to pull someone over just because he or she is distracted by their phone.
Recently, researchers asked drivers about their behavior while behind the wheel. According to researchers, at least one in every seven drivers admitted to texting while driving. About 46 percent of respondents who were 16 or 17-years-old said they text while driving. And nearly half of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 claimed they have violated anti-texting and driving laws.
To many young drivers, distraction doesn’t seem like a real problem until something actually happens.
Teens and young drivers are often mistaken to think that distracted driving crashes will never happen to them. But once they are involved in accidents, it might be too late for them to change their ways.
While it’s important that laws are in place to help deter the threat, it’s also important that teens and young drivers understand that just because they are not seeing the results of distracted driving with their own eyes, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
If anything, the Florida numbers show us that drivers are still not taking the risks associated with distracted driving seriously. Meaning that they are still distracted, regardless of what the laws in their states say.
If you’re a parent, talk to your children about the importance of taking responsibility for what you do while behind the wheel. Also, lead by example by never using a phone while behind the wheel at all times. Kids who live in households where parents use their phones while behind the wheel are more likely to do the same. If you would like to know more about the distracted driving crash rates in Florida, follow this link.