Written by attorney Joseph Maus

Texting While Driving: A Leading Cause of South Florida Car Accidents

We've all been there: driving along and watching either an oncoming car or a car in front of us cross the center line of the road and weave back and forth across it. Chances are that the driver of the car was sending a text message on a cell phone and was distracted enough to not realize the danger he or she was causing. We all know that talking on a cell phone while driving is distracting and dangerous, but driving while trying to read or send a text message is even more unsafe and dramatically increases the chances of causing an auto accident. While adults with many years of driving experience should not be doing it, the problem becomes even worse when teenagers with limited experience get behind the wheel and begin texting while driving. Statistics tell us that more than one in three drivers aged 16 to 17 admit sending or receiving a text message while driving in the last month and more than one in five experienced adult drivers admit that they also have sent or received a text. Many people don't realize it, but texting while driving is comparable to driving while legally drunk. South Florida car accidents are caused by many things and anything that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road is a contributing factor. Repeatedly, studies have shown that talking on a cell phone while driving is extremely distracting. But, did you know that these same studies show that texting while driving is the most dangerous of all cell phone-related activities? Drivers who are sending and receiving texts while driving must take their eyes off the road an average of 4.6 of every 6.0 seconds of drive time in order to accomplish the task. This means that these texting drivers are only watching the road and operating their vehicles at 25 percent of their capacity! Because of the danger of texting while driving and the increase in South Florida car accidents and those throughout the state, the Sunshine State is working on passing a law that would ban texting while driving. This law is based on scary statistics:

  • One in five adult drivers send texts while driving.

  • A driver who texts is six times more likely to cause an auto accident than a drunk driver.

  • Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for nearly five seconds at a time which, according to reports, is enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour.

  • Most Americans admit that talking on a cell phone and texting are two of the most dangerous things to do when driving. Yet, 67% admit to making phone calls while driving.

  • 20 percent of drivers with cell phones say they text while driving. Among drivers under age 35, that number jumps to 47 percent.

  • Studies indicate that distracted driving causes one out of every four U.S. crashes.

  • According to the Florida Times-Union newspaper, "a California study found that a ban [on texting and driving] in that state reduced texting by 70 percent."

Don't wait to become a South Florida car accidents statistic - stop texting while driving and get there safely!

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