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Personal perceptions differ on texting while driving.

For Florida drivers, as well as those around the country, there are strong disparities in the concept of distracted driving. Often, people are against an unsafe driving habit but believe they themselves are able to handle the unsafe habit. Such is the case with texting while driving.

In a recent insurance company survey, more than 90 percent of the 1,000 participants believe texting and driving should be illegal. Among the younger participants, however, the majority believes they are capable of safely text while operating a motor vehicle. For older individuals, or those over 55, the number drops to less than 10 percent.

With these self-perceptions in mind, it may not be surprising that teen drivers are the age group most likely to be involved in a distracted-driving-related accident. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are on the rise. According to the NHSTA, nearly 400,000 people were injured in distracted-driver-related accidents in the calendar year of 2015. These types of collisions also caused nearly 3,500 deaths in that year.

Drivers should know that texting while operating a motor vehicle is a traffic infraction under the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law. The law applies to the act of manually typing multiple letters, characters or symbols on a wireless communication for the purpose of a nonvoice electronic communication. It does not apply to dialing for a cell phone voice call. There are exceptions to the law, including emergency situations and reporting an act to law enforcement.

Regardless of the traffic infraction, those involved in a motor vehicle accident while texting may be considered negligent if the texting caused or contributed to the collision. Those injured due to a driver who was texting while driving may wish to speak to a qualified personal injury attorney to determine if negligence occurred and whether compensation is available.

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