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What Happens if You Are Texting and Driving?
What Happens if You Are Texting and Driving?

What Happens if You Are Texting and Driving?

Consult our personal injury lawyers if you or a loved one sustained injuries in a texting and driving accident.

Florida is the second worst state for distracted driving, including texting and driving. There were over 56,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida in 2021.

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distractions. That’s because it takes your eyes, hands, and mind off the road. According to the NHTSA, about 3% of all drivers admit to texting or scrolling while driving.

Texting can take the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. But a deadly car accident can happen in less than 5 seconds. Over 3,000 annual motor vehicle collisions are caused by distracted driving.

The Three Main Types of Distracted Driving

Texting is a major distraction while driving. It takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Distracted driving is a huge hazard to everyone on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), distracted driving has three main categories. Texting is so dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions. The types of distractions are:

  • Visual – any distraction that takes your eyes off of the road.
  • Manual – any distractions that cause the driver to take their hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive – when the driver’s attention is on anything other than driving.

Texting while driving requires at least one hand off the wheel, eyes off the road and a lack of attention to the driver’s surroundings.

Statistics on the Dangers of Texting and Driving

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in the US. Texting accounts for a large percentage of distracted driving accidents. Here are some additional figures:

  • In 2020, 396 people died from a texting-related accident. That’s at least one death a day caused by texting.
  • Texting causes about 10% of all car accidents that result in serious injuries.
  • In 2019, there were at least 3,000 traffic collisions related to texting.
  • 1 in 5 people injured by a texting driver is not inside a car. Rather, they are pedestrians, bicyclists, and e-scooter riders.
  • Texting increases the likelihood of accidents by nearly 95%

Simply putting the phone away or out of reach while driving can drastically reduce the odds of a car accident.

Who Is Most Likely to Text and Drive?

Teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 are most likely to text and drive. They are also likely to engage in other risky behaviors while driving. Furthermore, they are more likely to cause accidents while texting and driving due to their lack of experience on the road.

Statistics show that teen drivers who text while driving are less likely to wear a seatbelt and more likely to drink and drive.

Texting While Driving is a Primary Offense in Florida

Florida now considers texting while driving a primary offense. Texting and driving used to be a secondary offense in Florida. However, a recent bill signed by Governor DeSantis made texting and driving a primary offense. That means police can pull drivers over and issue citations for texting. Law enforcement can issue citations if a driver is:

  • Texting
  • Emailing
  • Typing on a mobile device

So, the mere suspicion of texting is enough for a sheriff or police officer to pull you over. In the past, drivers could only get a citation for texting if they were pulled over for another offense, like a moving violation. Now you can get a ticket solely for texting or if an officer suspects you were texting.

In addition to texting becoming a primary offense, using a handheld wireless device in school zones and construction areas with road work is illegal. The exception to these rules is if you need to make an emergency call. The penalties for texting and driving include fines and license points.

While texting and driving is illegal, not all handheld electronic devices are illegal. For example, drivers can use a phone or other device for GPS, navigation, making calls, and reading weather alerts.

What Are the Consequences of Texting and Driving?

Texting and driving are dangerous and can have serious consequences for everyone. It drastically increases the odds of crashing and increases fatality rates. Here are some penalties you could face if you text and drive.

Causing Harm to Others

Texting is a hazard to drivers and other people sharing the roadways. Taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds while traveling at high speeds can cause disastrous collisions. In addition, if you injure someone while texting and driving, you or your insurance might be liable for covering the victim’s damages.

Increased Insurance Premiums

In addition to posing a safety hazard, texting and driving can cause your insurance to increase. Even if you don’t cause an accident, you could get pulled over and receive a citation. That could potentially increase your insurance.

Significant Property Damage

You may not injure someone else, but you still run the risk of a single-vehicle crash from texting and driving. That can result in severe car damage and injuries.

Legal Repercussions

It’s illegal to text and drive in Florida. In addition, you could face penalties from law enforcement and a potential lawsuit if you caused harm to another driver due to texting.

Tips to Prevent Texting and Driving Accidents

The best way to prevent texting and driving accidents is to keep your phone out of reach during your trip. Try to limit other distractions, too, and focus on the road. As a driver in Florida, you have a duty of care to drive cautiously and prudently to avoid endangering others.

Additionally, all drivers should remain alert and attentive. Since you can’t control other drivers, being on the defense is also helpful. If another driver is texting and driving, you need to be prepared to react quickly. If you were injured in an accident by a negligent driver who was texting, you might need professional legal advice.

Parents should teach their children about the dangers of texting and driving. The best way to teach is to model good behavior and refrain from texting while driving yourself.

Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today

Texting and driving injuries kill thousands of people every year. However, you don’t have to become a statistic. Consult our personal injury lawyers if you or a loved one sustained injuries in a texting and driving accident. We can review your case to see how we can help you.

A negligent driver who was texting can be held accountable for their actions, and you may be eligible to recover damage compensation.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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