What Is Distracted Driving?

Good driving skills are essential to safe road traffic in West Palm Beach, Florida. This means avoiding distractions that can cause road accidents. Vehicle damages as a result of road accidents are a common occurrence when drivers are distracted.

To keep themselves and others safe, drivers must understand what constitutes a distraction while on the road. Distracted driving involves engaging in any other activity while driving that is capable of causing harm to not only the driver but also their passengers, pedestrians, and other road users. 

Usually, drivers tend to focus more on cell phone distractions when the term “distracted driving” is mentioned, but there are many forms of driving distractions. In this article, our West Palm Beach car accident lawyer explains more about distracted driving.

What Are the Types of Distracted Driving?

According to the data on distracted driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 

  • In 2019, distracted driving accidents caused approximately 3,100 deaths and 424,000 injuries in the United States. 
  • One in five victims of distracted driving accidents in 2019 were not riding in a car. Rather, they were walking, riding bikes, or in non-motorized transportation.

Distractions include anything that diverts your focus from operating a vehicle. Distracted driving consists of various activities, including texting, chatting on the phone, using a navigation system, and eating while operating a vehicle. Passengers and other motorists could be put in danger by these distractions.

The different types of distracted driving include the following:

  • Visual Distraction

Visual distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Visual distractions are harmful. Distractions could be looking at billboard advertisements or even glancing at other passengers. 

When drivers take their eyes off the road, they can’t see what is ahead, including traffic signals, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision. Another common visual distraction is texting while driving. These visual distractions impair drivers’ ability to scan their surroundings for potential hazards.

  • Manual Distraction

In this scenario, the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to attend to something else. Examples of manual distractions include eating and drinking, assisting a kid with a seat belt or car seat, and smoking. 

This also includes looking through personal belongings and fiddling with the car’s controls, such as radio or air conditioning knobs. In addition, manual distractions reduce a driver’s ability to react quickly to sudden hazards such as emerging traffic or animals on the road.

  • Cognitive Distraction

The most harmful and elusive type of distraction is a cognitive one. Anything that diverts the mind from driving is considered a mental distraction. Typically, that means daydreaming, but it can also mean humming along to a favorite song or arguing with another passenger.

Most drivers are not even aware that they are distracted. Cognitive distractions are the most challenging to overcome.  

While each of these distractions can cause accidents individually, some distractions involve these three types. These activities divert drivers’ hands away from the wheel, take their eyes off the road, and cause distractions. These are the “three threats.”

What Are the Effects of Distracted Driving?

Driving while distracted has caused harm and legal problems, including:

  • Harm to Self and Others

Distracted driving is a major contributing factor in car accidents that can result in horrific injuries and require extensive medical care. These injuries include brain injury, spinal cord injury, severe organ damage, broken bones, torn ligaments, etc. 

  • Civil Claims

Accident victims may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover damages for their injuries. Although money can never fully restore life or cure an injury, it can help a victim by covering expenses such as missed wages, education or retraining costs, past medical bills, and other requirements. A West Palm Beach car accident lawyer can help victims file a lawsuit and provide legal advice on how to seek compensation.

  • Reduced Productivity

Another consequence of not being focused is a reduction in productivity. Even if distracted driving accidents do not result in fatalities or catastrophic crashes, it might affect the driver’s business since drivers may need to take time off or replace a vehicle, resulting in downtime and lost productivity.

  • Lose Driving Privileges

Drivers may have their licenses suspended or revoked if they obtain too many penalty points. If the person drives for a living, it will impact their ability to work.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

Some ways people can prevent accidents from distracted driving as a driver, include:

  • Avoid multitasking. Be fully aware of your surroundings and avoid visual distractions such as billboard advertisements.
  • Have passengers take care of certain activities such as changing radio stations or handling phones.
  • Avoid grooming, eating and drinking, or reaching around in your vehicles.

As a passenger, you should:

  • Speak up if in you’re in a vehicle with a distracted driver. Kindly ask the driver to concentrate.
  • Lessen distractions for the driver by helping with navigation and other activities.

Florida Laws Against Distracted Driving

At the moment, Florida’s laws prohibit:

  • Driving while writing, sending, or reading texts
  • Use of mobile phones in busy school zones
  • The use of mobile phone devices in active work areas

Furthermore, the ban on mobile phones in work zones is only enforced when workers are present. Also, Florida’s distracted driving laws exempt the following:

  • Law enforcement, fire service, or emergency services personnel operating authorized emergency vehicles while performing their official duties
  • Drivers who use their cellphone to alert the police of emergencies, crimes, or suspicious activities
  • Drivers who receive alerts about their vehicle’s navigation or operation or safety-related information. This includes information such as traffic, weather, emergency alerts, and radio broadcasts.
  • Drivers who are using GPS or other navigational systems while driving.
  • Drivers using voice-to-text hands-free texting technology while operating a vehicle
  • Drivers using automatic vehicles and driving in automatic mode

What Should a Victim of a Distracted Driving Accident Do?

If a victim suffers an injury from an accident with a distracted driver, there are steps they should take to protect themselves and build a solid personal injury case.

  • Ensure the driver does not leave the collision scene
  • Attempt to record any details about the crash, such as the color, make, and model of the other car, and license plate number
  • Call the police to report the incident
  • Seek medical attention even if  you do not feel injured
  • Ensure you consult an experienced personal injury attorney 

Talk With Our West Palm Beach Car Injury Attorneys Today

Our team at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers diligently represents those who have been hurt in distracted driving car accidents in West Palm Beach, Florida (by appointment only). We help victims assert their rights to seek fair compensation.

Contact us at (561)-800-8000 for a free consultation if you or a loved one needs legal assistance after being hurt in an accident in West Palm Beach.


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