All over the US, including in Florida, people are facing criminal charges for killing others in a car crash when they text while driving. Even when a person does not intend for an accident, a person could be hit with not only a personal injury action, but conviction for misdemeanor or involuntary manslaughter depending on the accident injuries.
A Consumer Reports study on mobile device use, which includes texting while driving, revealed:
- 63% used a handheld cell phone while driving in the past 30 days
- 30% texted while driving in the past 30 days
- 36% were concerned with distracted driving, and 30% thought using a cell phone while driving was dangerous
- 58% saw a dangerous situation because of distracted driving in the last 30 days
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed almost 5,000 people and injured close to half a million people in 2009. Texting while driving dramatically increases the chance of a major accident which could lead to a serious injury.
Today 30 states ban texting while driving. In some states, a driver texting can be pulled over for that reason alone. Law enforcement officers in these states issue tickets to drivers for texting even when the driver does nothing else against the law.
Texting while driving involves three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual — taking eyes off road
- Manual — taking hands off wheel
- Cognitive — taking mind off driving
Distracted driving means any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle. Such activities distract the person from driving and increase risk of auto wrecks.
People engage in texting because of busy lifestyles, stressful jobs. They forget to put cell phone devices down when they should be paying attention to their driving for the sake of safety. Serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and death could result from distracted driving. Damages the injured person may suffer include:
- Medical care
- Loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Psychological counseling
- Property damage
The NHTSA is conducting research projects on driver cell phone use and will monitor the research of others. There are no federal laws against distracted driving. The states make up the rules in this area, and each state differs in distracted driving laws.
Often the legal aspects of distracted driving accidents require a Florida personal injury attorney with compassion to bravely fight for the victim’s losses.