April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a national campaign designed to educate drivers about the prevalence and dangers of behind-the-wheel distractions. It's an ever-worsening issue with the continued development of new mobile devices and applications. Consider these statistics on the impact of distracted driving here in the Sunshine State:
- Distracted driving-caused crashes made up more than 12 percent of all roadway collisions in Florida in 2015.
- Distracted driving was the primary factor in more than 45,000 crashes drivers in Florida in 2015.
- Those 45,000 crashes resulted in more than 200 fatalities and more than 39,000 injuries.
- Drivers under the age of 30 were to blame for more than 12,000 crashes in Florida in 2015. Leading this dubious pack were drivers 20–24 years old, followed closely by 25–29-year-olds and 15–19-year-olds.
- Teens make up just 4.5 percent of licensed drivers in Florida, yet in 2015 they were responsible for 11.7 percent of distracted driving crashes in the state.
These statistics are compiled by the Anthony Phoenix Branca Foundation, named for a Tallahassee 19-year-old killed when the distracted driver of a van hit his motorcycle in 2014.
While the use of mobile devices is a leading type of distracted driving, it's certainly not the only issue at hand. Other forms can include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, tending to children, reaching for items in back seats or floorboards, grooming, reading (including reading maps), using navigation systems, watching videoes, adjusting radios or other music players, or simply being too tired to fully concentrate on the roadways.
If you or your dependents suffer an injury or loss in an accident caused by a distracted driver, report the accident and get medical attention, even if there's no apparent damage or immediate injury. Then, call 877-798-7700 to speak with a distracted driving attorney with Gainesville's Shackow & Mercadante.