Distracted driving can ruin your day or take your life

Distracted Driving

For drivers who believe that they can multitask safely while on the road — they're wrong.  It is universally known driving while distracted is dangerous. Study after study has shown distracted driving is unsafe.  In Florida, distracted driving crashes make up more than 12 percent of all crashes, and half of those crashes will result in injury or death.  Safety campaigns around the world reiterate the fact that distracted driving kills, yet still, drivers continue to reach for the cellphone, look down at their navigation system, turn around to talk to passengers in the vehicle, apply mascara or eat lunch while driving.  In South Florida alone, there were more than 10,400 distracted driving crashes in 2015.  In Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties 31 people were killed and 7,850 people were injured from crashes where a driver admitted to being distracted.  Preliminary numbers show that last year the Florida Highway Patrol worked one of the highest number of fatal crashes in Florida in the department's history.  Distracted driving crashes are increasing every year, and every day we read about tragic, preventable crashes on Florida roads.  When operating a motor vehicle, driving should always be your only focus.  In that split second that you look away from the road, take your hands off the wheel or stop focusing on driving, you don't see the family that just stepped into the crosswalk.  You don't see the light in front of you that just turned red.  You don't see the car in front of you that has come to a quick stop.  Statewide, more than 200 people were killed from distracted driving crashes last year.  That is 200 families changed forever.  We all see those drivers weaving around the lane as they text and drive, reading the newspaper, putting on makeup or dancing to the song on the radio as they race to their destinations.  They make us less safe on the road.  Driving distracted can not only hurt you and your passengers, but can greatly influence driving behavior of others, especially young, impressionable drivers.  Teens make up 4.5 percent of licensed drivers, yet in 2015, they were responsible for almost 12 percent of distracted driving crashes.  In fact, drivers under the age of 30 accounted for the highest rate of distracted driving crashes in 2015 and more than 12,000 crashes last year were caused by just being inattentive — not being focused on driving.  This April, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is reaching out to remind motorists the focus should always be on driving and getting to your destination safely.  Every day there are more than 125 distracted driving crashes across our state, more than five crashes every hour. Focus on driving, Florida.  Model good driving behavior and talk with kids about responsible driving to keep us all safe on the road.