We are continually monitoring the Covid-19 situation. Click here for more information.

Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky regrets to report that the number of car accident deaths across America rose the most since the 1940s. The increase over the past year was unexpected, as car accident deaths and injuries had been on a downward trend over the past fifty years – due to vehicle safety innovations, reduction in drunk driving crashes, and lower speed limits. Those changes are the reason why the rate of car accident deaths dropped to their lowest number, prior to the pandemic.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 43,000 people lost their lives in car and truck accidents last year, an increase of 10.5% over 2020, which itself had the highest death rate in fifteen years. In comparison, during 2019, car accident death rates rose nearly 20 percent, which was the highest rise since the mid-1940s. Trying to determine the reason for the dramatic increase is difficult, but researchers believe it is a deadly combination of faster reckless drivers using their phones while behind the wheel.

Not surprisingly, Florida is a top state for distraction-related automobile deaths, according to data from MoneyGeek.The Sunshine State had over 500 distracted driving deaths during the years 2019 to 2020. The only state with more distracted driving deaths during that time was Texas. In hopes of changing the path of deadly crashes in Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and the Florida Highway Patrol started a campaign, during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, to teach Florida motorists about the importance of avoiding distracted driving. According to FLHSMV data, distracted driving crashes resulted in 333 fatalities in 2021 – the highest recorded in Florida in at least 8 years. On average, there were more than 1,000 distracted driving crashes every week across Florida last year.

As Florida car accident attorneys, we are always saddened to hear of a rise in car accident related injuries and deaths. This is why it is difficult to report that recent data demonstrates that the number of car and truck accidents resulting in wrongful deaths dramatically rose for over the past year, reaching a decade’s high; all in the face of added vehicle safety equipment and so-called self-driving vehicles.

The rise in deadly crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the increase to nearly 38,000 victims last year, is due to a number of reasons including speeding and the lack of seat belt use. The steady increase in accident deaths reverses what had been a steady drop from 2007 through 2014. While the researchers expected deadly car accidents to decrease given the increased use of so-called autonomous driving being installed in many vehicles, what they did not anticipate was that distracted driving, caused by drivers’ use of advances in vehicle technology are actually making it easier for drivers to be distracted.

Also, speeding and driver carelessness were responsible for a nearly 5% rise in deadly car accidents. Sadly, pedestrians being struck and killed by drivers rose nearly 10% over the past year. As expected, drunk driving accidents were to blame for nearly a 2 percent rise.

A recent study by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic and Safety sheds new light on the lasting effects of distracted driving that smartphone use has on drivers, even when they only use their phone while the car is stopped. While most people believe that it is safe to text, read email or talk on their phone while they are stopped at a red light, research demonstrates that even such limited cellphone use results in what researchers are calling a hangover effect.

Considering the increasing number of car accident related wrongful deaths, it is imperative that all motorists understand how dangerous any smartphone while behind the wheel is. The AAA’s study revealed that a driver’s mind remains distracted for nearly half a minute after simply sending a text while their vehicle is stopped. The driver’s mind remains focused on the message they just sent, rather than on driving their vehicle.  The researchers refer to the post cellphone use as inattention blindness, and essentially blocks out other stimulus, such as other cars, traffic signs and even pedestrians.

This finding is concerning, particularly since car manufacturers and technology companies are rapidly making “advances” in allowing motorists to more readily remain on-line, such as with heads-up displays. While allowing motorists to see information on their windshield, rather than looking at the dashboard or phone, sounds safer, that motorist is equally as distracted. The AAA is actually recommending that all vehicles have technology which prohibits a driver from using smartphone technology with the car is moving.  And, while voice activated technology may aide motorists, not all vehicles have seamless technology integrated into them, which may actually cause a well intending motorist to become more distracted.

According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the most dangerous drivers on Florida’s roadways are so-called Millennials. Not surprisingly, the reason these 19 to 24 year olds cause so many car accidents is because they regularly are distracted drivers who text while driving, feel speeding is acceptable and regularly run red lights. Incredibly, Millennials are more dangerous and take more risks behind the wheel than even new 16 to 18 year old drivers.

The actual statistics are truly concerning. The AAA’s study revealed that sixty percent of Millenial drivers actually admit to sending a text or email while operating a motor vehicle.  That admitted rate is nearly twice as high as all other age groups of drivers.  Also, almost 50% of Millenials admitted to running a red light, one they could have easily stopped for, a rate that is almost 25% greater than other age groups.

Millennials also admit to regularly driving more than 10 m.p.h. over the posted speed limits in school zones. That behavior which endangers children and demonstrates a disregard of some of the most costly traffic ticket consequences is a rate which is more than double that of all other age groups of drivers. We, as Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers, share the same concerns as the AAA; that a large population of drivers is willing to regularly take unnecessary risks which needlessly increase the chance of being in a deadly car accident. Considering fatal car accident deaths rose more than 7% over the last year, this accepted recklessness should be truly concerning to Florida drivers.

Contact Information