Texting and Driving Accidents
With the advent of smart phones, which enable drivers to do more than simply talk on the phone, including browse the web, e-mail, and text, the number of car accidents caused by drivers distracted by cell phone technology has increased dramatically. In fact, the statistics for texting and driving accidents show the problem has become a “national epidemic” and a major cause of car accident injuries and fatalities.
The National Safety Council has reported over 1,600,000 automobile accidents annually due to cell phone use while driving. This amounts to nearly 26% of all car accidents per 2014 figures. It has likely increased over the last several years. Now, one out of every four motor vehicle accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. This has resulted in over 330,000 injuries per year as well as over 3,000 wrongful deaths annually including 11 teen deaths every day from accidents caused by distracted drivers that were texting (National Safety Council and Insurance Institute For Highway Safety).
Despite the fact injury and fatality numbers clearly show how dangerous it is to text while driving, shockingly, this practice (as well as talking on the cell phone while driving) remains socially acceptable and dismissed by most as harmless. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey found 20% of drivers age 18-20 said texting does not affect their driving, and nearly 30% of drivers ages 21-34 said texting has no impact. However, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than a drunk driver.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has indicated the level of distraction or inattentiveness from texting while driving is similar to driving after drinking four beers. This is because texting while driving and drinking and driving dulls your reflexes making it difficult to respond to changes in roadway condition. In many instances receiving and responding to a text is essentially the same as driving blind thus further illustrating how dangerous the practice is and why it should be banned. If you have been injured by a distracted driver or someone texting and driving, contact Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer David B. Datny immediately at 561-221-7474 for a FREE CONSULTATION. He available 24/7 to help you after an accident caused by a texting driver.Florida Legislation
Florida passed its Ban on Texting While Driving Law in 2013. In substance, Florida Statute 316.305 provides “A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.”
The expressed purpose of the legislation is to address the dangers discussed above from texting and driving and to “Improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users” as well as to “Prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle.” See, Florida Statute 316.305(2)(a) and (b).
While the law was well intentioned, it was given little teeth to make a meaningful impact on the safety of Florida drivers. The law only made texting and driving a secondary offense, which means a driver could only be pulled over for texting and driving if he or she had committed another violation, such as speeding or making an illegal turn. See, Florida Statute 316.305(5). Because of this, in the first year that the law was passed, only 1,800 texting and driving violations were issued. Needless to say, this is a far cry from the actual number of violations being committed as suggested from the above statistics. There have been efforts to make texting and driving a primary offense, but none have been successful to date.Punitive Damages
Because of the serious danger caused by texting and driving, as set forth above, including the fact it results in more deaths than drinking and driving, some Florida Courts have allowed punitive damages in cases in which a motor vehicle accident was determined to have been caused by texting and driving.
Punitive damages are exemplary damages awarded in addition to damages for medical expenses and pain and suffering to punish a party for gross negligence and to deter others from acting similarly. However, there is a high standard for punitive damages which requires an extremely fact intensive analysis that must be established using supporting evidence. Because evidence often becomes unavailable after an accident, witnesses disappear and memories fade, it is important to move quickly after you were in an accident caused by a texting driver.
Time is of the essence in these types of accidents. That is why it is important to get an experienced attorney involved as soon as possible. Distracted Driving Lawyer David B. Datny is available 24/7 at 561-221-7474 after your accident for a FREE CONSULTATION. The Datny Law firm will instruct you on what to do after an accident caused by a texting driver and help preserve your rights by acquiring the necessary evidence and speaking to appropriate witnesses. This will put you in the best position to recover for your car accident and seek punitive damages.Other Types of Driving Distractions
While texting and driving remains the single biggest cause of injury and death, studies have indicated there are a number of other types of driving distractions that are to be blamed for car accidents, pedestrian accidents and bike accidents, some of which are set forth below:
- Talking on the cell phone;
- Programming or checking GPS;
- Reading (maps, documents, etc.)
- Pets that are unrestrained
- Consuming food or drink;
- Adjusting the radio;
- Looking at the scenery or
- Children distractions
If you have been in a car accident due to the distracted and negligent driving of another person, do not waste any time to contact Injury Lawyer David B. Datny at The Datny Law Firm for legal assistance. Mr. Datny is available 24/7 at 561-221-7474 to guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. Time is of the essence in texting and driving accidents. That is why it is important to get Boca Raton Car Accident Attorney David B. Datny involved immediately after a car, truck or Uber/Lyft accident to ensure that important evidence is preserved, witness statements are obtained and documentary photographs are taken. Consultations are FREE and there is no fee unless you recover on your case.