Distracted driving accidents in Florida and around the country claimed the lives of 3,477 road users in 2015, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Studies suggest that about 660,000 drivers use mobile electronic devices during daylight hours. While smartphones and vehicle information, entertainment and navigation systems are considered by most road safety experts to be the primary cause of the alarming increase in distracted driving accidents, researchers have found that speaking with passengers is even more distracting for motorists.
The problem is a serious one because distracted drivers rarely take evasive action before crashing, and vehicles traveling at highway speeds cover about 100 yards every five seconds. NHTSA works with state legislators and law enforcement agencies to develop strategies to combat distracted driving and raise awareness about the issue. One example of this cooperation is a national advertising campaign called ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” The campaign will run throughout April, which has been designated the Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The campaign has been designed to appeal to younger drivers as studies have found that teenagers are the demographic group most likely to be killed or injured in distracted driving crashes. The commercials encourage parents to set a good example for their children by not using electronic devices while driving, and teenagers are urged to speak up when they see their friends engaging in dangerous behavior behind the wheel.
Experienced personal injury attorneys can represent individuals who suffered catastrophic injuries in car accidents caused by distracted drivers. Police reports may be used to establish distraction and liability in this kind of case even when prosecutors have declined to file criminal charges. This is true because the standard of proof in civil cases is not as strict as it is in criminal trials, and personal injury attorneys must only prove their arguments are more likely true than not in order to prevail.