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Distracted Driving Risks

Posted March 10, 2014Information, News

Most people spend a good part of their day on the road, commuting to and from work, running errands, dropping off kids, or traveling on vacations, and it is always tempting to make this driving time as productive as possible. Smart phones and Bluetooth pairing devices have made it easy for us to make phone calls while on the road, or to check messages and respond to emails and texts on the go. But criminal defense lawyers in Sanford say that drivers who try to do too much on the road may be causing dangerous conditions for themselves and other drivers, and may even risk criminal charges if caught. 

According to data from Distraction.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fatalities from distracted driving are on the rise. In 2011, more than 3,300 people were killed in accidents that were caused by distracted drivers, and more than 380,000 more were injured. Statistics from 2010 show that nearly one in every five car accidents is caused by distracted driving, and these numbers are rising every year. 

The most immediate cause of distraction for drivers is the cell phone, and several states, including Florida, have laws making it illegal for drivers to text or check emails and websites while they are on the road. Most new cars now come equipped with pairing ability, allowing a driver to make hands-free phone calls and use the phone’s navigation technology without constantly glancing down and away from the road. In Florida, texting is a distracted driving offense punishable by law. However, the ban against texting is a secondary law, meaning that a driver can only be charged with texting and driving if he or she has been pulled over for a separate driving offense, such as speeding, reckless driving, or other illegal activity. Because texting often pulls the driver’s attention away from the road, reckless driving and swerving in and out of lanes, making quick turns, or failing to notice stop signs are all traffic violations and can alert a police officer to a distracted driver. 

Anyone caught texting and driving while stopped for driving violations can be fined $30 for a first offense, and $70 for a second or any subsequent offenses. Additionally, drivers who are caught texting and driving more than once may have points added to their licenses. But phones are not the only cause of distraction, and studies show that drivers who are multi-tasking on their morning commutes participate in a wide—and sometimes astonishing—range of activities, most of which cause a dangerous lack of attention to the other cars and obstacles on the road.

Surveys, traffic cameras, and other studies show drivers reading books, working on crossword puzzles, eating, drinking, applying makeup, styling hair, or changing clothes. These activities are dangerous, taking the driver’s focus away from steering and navigating, and dividing mental attention between the road and the other things going on. 

At the Law Offices of Ryan N. Yadav, our criminal defense attorneys represent drivers in Sanford and neighboring counties who have been charged with reckless or distracted driving. Contact Ryan Yadav for a consultation about your charges today. 

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