The Role of Distracted Driving in Traffic Accidents in Miami: Statistics and Solutions

July 25, 2023

Car crash

In the state of Florida, distracted driving results in more than 48,500 crashes almost every year – that is over 130 accidents every single day because someone was not paying attention. These numbers are more than just statistics; they represent entire families, and sometimes communities, whose lives are turned upside down.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power to change the narrative and make the roads safer for everyone. In this guide, we will review the true extent of the problem in Miami as well as real, tangible solutions for distracted driving that can make a world of difference.

If life takes an unexpected turn and you or someone you care about gets caught in an accident due to someone not keeping their eyes on the road, you may have a claim for damages. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Call our Miami office to request a free consultation.

The Risks of Distracted Driving and the Need to Develop Effective Solutions 

When we talk about making the roads safer, it’s crucial to understand what is causing the problems in the first place. One of the big culprits is drivers not giving their full attention to driving. Whether it’s texting, changing the radio station, or just daydreaming, these moments when focus slips away are often when things go wrong. In Miami, where the streets are always buzzing, the consequences of not paying attention behind the wheel can be especially severe.

Knowing how and why drivers get sidetracked is like having a roadmap to better road safety. It can help us pinpoint exactly where changes need to be made. For example, if we know that texting is a major issue, we can work on laws and technology to keep phones out of drivers’ hands. Florida has already taken steps in this direction with the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law, which makes texting while driving a primary offense.

As we know, eliminating bad habits works best when you replace them with good ones. By understanding what commonly causes people to lose their focus during driving, we can also educate them on safer alternatives. Simple changes, like setting up your GPS before you start driving or making a playlist so you don’t fiddle with the radio, can make a big difference.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that taking your eyes off the road for just 5 seconds while driving at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed! Knowing this alone can help you realize the importance of staying attentive when behind the wheel.

That’s why the local authorities and organizations in Miami are also stepping up by running campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Law enforcement agencies are really cracking down on distracted drivers, and educational programs are being launched in schools and communities.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving simply means doing anything that takes your attention away from driving. According to Florida law, it is defined as anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off driving. It’s like trying to juggle while driving – not a good idea!

In Florida, the law takes distracted driving, especially texting while driving, very seriously. As we mentioned earlier, there is an actual law called the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law which means if you are tapping away on your phone to send a text while you are driving, and a police officer spots you, you could get in legal trouble. Not only could you get pulled over, but you could also get a ticket and points added to your driver’s license. Racking up too many of these points means you could lose your driving privileges.

Now, let’s discuss the most common reasons that cause people to get distracted on the road:

  • Using a phone: Texting, browsing social media, or snapping a photo while driving is not only risky but also illegal in Florida, including Miami. The law is clear: keep your phone out of your hands and your eyes on the road. The few seconds you take to send a text can be the difference between safe driving and a tragic accident.
  • Fiddling with controls: When you are adjusting the radio, setting the temperature, or inputting an address into the GPS, your attention is split. Try to set everything up before you start driving or ask a passenger to do it for you. Remember, your only priority must be to drive safely.
  • Eating and drinking: Consuming food or beverages might seem harmless, but it requires you to take your hands off the wheel. A sudden spill or drop can cause a knee-jerk reaction, which can lead to loss of control of the vehicle. It’s best to eat before or after your journey.
  • Engaging in conversations: While it’s natural to talk to passengers, getting too engrossed in a conversation can divert your attention. Keep conversations light and remain aware of the traffic conditions around you.
  • Mental distractions: Daydreaming or being lost in thought is also a form of cognitive distraction. Keep your mind engaged in driving – if you find your thoughts wandering, take a moment to refocus on the road.
  • Personal grooming: Applying makeup, combing hair, or any form of grooming should be done before leaving or after reaching your destination. Using the rearview mirror for anything other than monitoring traffic is a huge hazard.
  • Reaching for objects: Whether it’s grabbing your bag from the backseat or picking up a dropped item, taking your eyes off the road and/or hands off the wheel is dangerous. If you need to reach for something, it is much safer to pull over.
  • Reading: Glancing at a map, book, or even trying to read billboards takes your focus away from driving. If you need to check a map, do so before you start driving or use voice-guided navigation.

Potential Consequences of Distracted Driving on Driver Performance

When you are behind the wheel, distractions can set off a chain reaction that messes with how you handle your vehicle. Picture this: you are driving down a Miami street, and your phone buzzes. You sneak a peek, and just like that, your reaction time slows down. If a car suddenly stops in front of you, your brain is playing catch-up, and you might not hit the brakes in time.

You are not just slower to react; your decision-making also goes haywire. You might make a hasty lane change without realizing there is a car in your blind spot. Your awareness of what is happening around you also takes a hit. You might not see that pedestrian or the traffic light turning red. Let’s not forget how hard it is to steer properly if you are holding a sandwich or a phone. Plus, missing a turn because you were not paying attention can send your stress levels through the roof.  

As we have already explained, in Florida, the law does not take kindly to distracted driving. You could be looking at fines, points on your license, and other serious legal consequences if your distractions lead to an accident. The real cost of these traffic accidents in Miami is, of course, the human one – injuries, lives lost, and families torn apart.

Distracted Driving Statistics in Miami

With its busy, lively streets, Miami makes it easy to get caught up in the moment. But when you are driving, getting caught up in anything other than the road is a recipe for disaster. Distracted driving is a real problem here, and the numbers paint a worrying picture:

  • In 2020, distracted driving was a factor in more than 48,000 crashes, resulting in more than 2,700 severe injuries and 300 fatalities.
  • According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2021, there were 333 fatalities due to distracted driving in the state of Florida.
  • Nationwide, 8% of fatal crashes involved a distracted driver, and the numbers are similar in Miami.
  • Florida consistently ranks as one of the top states in the U.S. for distraction-related traffic fatalities.
  • According to the World Health Organization, drivers who engage in mobile phone use while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a crash.

How to Steer Clear of Distractions While Driving

Regardless of where and when you are driving, you can significantly reduce the risks associated distracted driving with some simple steps:

  • Put the phone away: Before you start the car, put your phone on silent or in a place where you cannot reach it. If you need to use it for navigation, set your destination before you begin driving.
  • Plan ahead: Adjust your mirrors, set the air conditioning, and choose your playlist or radio station BEFORE you hit the road. This way, you won’t need to fuss with controls while driving.
  • Use a designated texter: If you are driving with someone else, ask them to handle your phone. They can respond to texts, answer calls, and even change the music for you.
  • Take breaks on long journeys: If you are on a long drive, schedule regular breaks to help you stay alert and focused. Use these breaks to check your phone, have a snack, or just stretch your legs.
  • Educate young drivers: Talk to the young drivers in your family or friend circle about the importance of focused driving. Encourage them to make a pact to keep the phone off while driving.
  • Know the laws: Be aware of the distracted driving laws in Florida as knowing the consequences, including fines and points on your license, can be a strong deterrent.
  • Use technology wisely: Some modern cars come with features that help minimize distractions, like do-not-disturb modes or apps that block incoming calls and texts while driving – make use of them.

Get Back on the Road to Recovery

Have you suffered bodily injuries or property damage because of someone else’s carelessness? Maybe they were texting, or perhaps they were too busy changing the radio station – whatever the reason, now you are left dealing with the aftermath of an accident that was not your fault.

1-800-Injured is a lawyer and medical directory service that connects injury victims with Miami personal injury lawyers and a Miami car accident lawyer. Give 1-800-Injured a call to schedule a free consultation..Disclaimer:1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical directory service.