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Distracted Driving: A Case Study

A recent study by the National Safety Council shows that 91% of parents who use electronics while driving do so in front of their teens. This presents a number of problems for Miami area and other Florida drivers. For one, the example being set for current or near-future drivers by those drivers’ parents can set lifetime trends with deadly results. Additionally, and maybe more importantly, parents using electronics while driving are putting their children and other drivers in immediate risk.

This amazing statistic raises the question: why would parents send this message to their children? The study addressed this question in part when parents responded that they know texting and driving poses a great risk to their children, even that it could cause their death. But while parents tell their children not to engage in distracted driving, the way the parents drive themselves sets a different tone entirely. The National Safety Council wants to help change this trend, and has put together a number of tools for parents to fix America’s distracted driving problems. Some of those tools include:

  • driveithome.org – a website with videos, tutorials, blog, and other resources for parents and teens regarding safe driving.
  • The Steer Your Teen in the Right Direction presentation – this is a presentation that can be downloaded for anyone to use as a way to raise awareness on teens driving safely.

There are many reasons why parents should use these resources and take distracted driving seriously, especially for the safety of themselves and their children.

Florida’s Laws on Distracted Driving

It is against the law to use electronic devices while driving under Florida’s ban on texting while driving. Passed in 2013, the purpose of this law is to:

  • Improve the safety of roads for all Florida drivers;
  • Prevent crashes that are increasingly being caused by texting, tweeting, or emailing while driving; and
  • Reduce the amount of deaths, injuries, and damage to property that inevitably comes from texting and driving.

Basically, the law makes it illegal to type on any device that sends or receives data while driving. That means cellular phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices are off limits to drivers. While this law can be an effective tool, it also has some problems. For example, this particular law makes texting while driving a secondary offense. That means a police officer can only cite a person for violating this law if they happen to be violating another law as well, such as speeding.

Beyond being against Florida’s traffic laws, driving distracted by using a phone or other device opens a driver to civil liability. Under common and statutory laws in Florida, drivers have a duty to drive reasonably and safely. If they breach that duty and get in an accident as a result, they will be liable for the damages they cause. This can mean injuries, hospital bills, damaged cars, lost wages and more. And in addition to being responsible for their own driving, parents could be liable for how their kids drive as well. Under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality laws if a parent owns the vehicle their teen drives they could be liable for accidents they cause as well.

Reach Out to Us Today

Distracted driving is a major problem in the Miami area and throughout Florida. Dealing with an accident caused by a distracted driver will disrupt a person’s life and cause a number of changes. If you have been injured in an accident in the Miami area, contact us at Alan Goldfarb, P.A. We prepared to fight for you in your case.

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