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How Distracted Driving Contributes to Pedestrian Accidents - Jones Law Group

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Female distracted driver texting about to cause a pedestrian accident

How Distracted Driving Contributes to Pedestrian Accidents

Florida drivers endanger pedestrians when they are distracted, especially by technology.

Summary

  • Distracted driving is a significant hazard to Florida pedestrians, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Manual, visual, and cognitive distractions, such as texting, divert drivers’ attention from the road.
  • Texting while driving is particularly dangerous as it involves all three types of distractions simultaneously, leading to a high likelihood of pedestrian accidents.
  • Distracted driving delays drivers’ reaction times and reduces situational awareness, making it difficult to respond to sudden changes and increasing the risk of pedestrian accidents.
  • Pedestrian accident victims in Florida can seek compensation through personal injury claims.
  • Evidence such as traffic camera footage, cell phone records, and police reports are crucial in proving driver negligence.

Distracted driving is a major issue on Florida roads, creating a substantial danger for pedestrians. The growing use of infotainment systems, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets while driving makes drivers more prone to distractions than ever before. 

Distracted driving is among the most perilous behaviors on the road today. But what exactly constitutes distracted driving, and how does it increase the risk of pedestrian accidents in Florida? 

At Jones Law Group, we understand that vulnerable road users like pedestrians are more likely to sustain catastrophic injuries in a collision with a distracted driver, and we are here to advocate for you.

 Our team of seasoned Florida pedestrian accident attorneys can help you make the connection between a distracted driver’s reckless behavior and your injuries so you can recover fair compensation. Call us at (727) 571-1333 or submit this contact form to schedule a free consultation.

What is Distracted Driving?

Driving demands a high level of attention, but many individuals tend to “zone out” as they grow more accustomed to being behind the wheel. This false sense of security and confidence can lead drivers to believe that they are capable of multitasking while driving, diverting their focus from the road.

There are three primary categories of driving distractions:

Manual Distractions

They occur when a driver removes one or both hands from the steering wheel. Examples include searching for items in a purse or wallet, smoking, eating, drinking, or adjusting the radio. 

Proper preparation, such as obtaining directions in advance, setting mirrors, or familiarizing oneself with the car’s controls before starting the journey, can avoid many manual distractions.

Visual Distractions

These are forms of distractions that take a driver’s eyes off the road. Common instances include adjusting the temperature controls, looking for dropped items, or reading GPS directions. 

The best way to mitigate visual distractions is to assign a passenger as a copilot. Make them responsible for handling the radio or GPS, and other secondary tasks. If driving alone, non-essential tasks should be postponed until the car is parked.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions involve activities that cause a driver to think about something other than driving. As cars become more automated and feature-rich, drivers might become distracted by interacting with various onboard technologies, especially those linked to smartphones. 

Even hands-free communication can divert a driver’s attention from the road. If a driver feels unable to fully concentrate, it is advisable to pull over safely and take a break.

Why Texting While Driving is the Most Hazardous Distraction

Texting while driving is particularly hazardous because it involves all three types of distractions. A driver who is focused on texting uses their eyes, brain, and hands for the task, leaving minimal attention to the road. 

In the brief time it takes to glance at a text message, a vehicle can travel the length of a football field. Each distraction significantly increases the likelihood of an accident, and pedestrians or cyclists, unprotected by airbags and crumple zones, are at greater risk of fatal injuries.

In Florida, early texting and driving laws were criticized for treating it as a secondary offense, meaning drivers could only be cited for it if they were pulled over for another violation first. The legislature has since upgraded texting while driving to a primary offense, given the danger distracted driving poses to pedestrians and other road users.

The Impact of Distracted Driving on Pedestrian Safety

Distracted driving significantly elevates the risk of pedestrian accidents in Florida, particularly impacting pedestrian safety. In fact, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents in the state of Florida.

When a driver is distracted, their reaction time and situational awareness are considerably diminished, leading to delayed responses to sudden changes in the environment.

Reaction Time (Delayed Response)

Distracted drivers take longer to respond to unexpected events, such as a pedestrian stepping off the curb or a traffic light changing. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. 

At 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded. During this period, a driver cannot react to emerging hazards, substantially increasing the likelihood of a collision.

Situational Awareness

Effective driving requires constant monitoring of multiple elements, including other vehicles, pedestrians, and road signals. Distractions like using a smartphone or adjusting in-car settings divert mental focus away from these critical tasks. 

Cognitive distractions, such as engaging in a conversation or thinking about non-driving activities, can impair a driver’s ability to process essential visual and auditory information. This lack of situational awareness can lead to missing vital cues, such as a pedestrian crossing the street or a child running into the road.

Accident reports consistently show that distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes involving pedestrians. For instance, the NHTSA reported that in 2019, distracted driving was responsible for 8.5% of all fatal crashes in the United States, many involving pedestrians. 

These incidents underscore the critical need for drivers to maintain full attention while driving to ensure the safety of all road users, especially the most vulnerable ones.

Rights of Pedestrian Accident Victims

Pedestrians have legal rights designed to protect them from harm and help them recover compensation in the event of an accident. For example, pedestrian accident victims in Florida are entitled to seek compensation for losses and injuries by filing a personal injury claim against the distracted driver. 

This legal process aims to hold the negligent driver responsible for their actions and secure damages for the victim’s injuries. The compensation may cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs.

Pursue Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident Caused by Distracted Driving

Experienced Florida personal injury lawyers can represent you in pedestrian accident claims to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. To obtain compensation, pedestrian victims must prove that the driver was negligent.

This requires showing that the driver violated their duty of care by engaging in distracted behaviors, such as talking on the phone, texting, or using electronic devices while driving. 

Additionally, it is crucial to be mindful of the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Florida. This requires you to file a negligence personal injury claim within two years from the date of the accident.

Proving a Driver as Distracted in a Pedestrian Accident Claim

Proving that the driver was distracted is crucial to securing compensation for the victim in pedestrian accident claims. Demonstrating the driver’s negligence often requires substantial evidence and legal expertise. 

Florida personal injury lawyers can be pivotal in building a strong case by gathering relevant evidence and presenting it effectively.

Gathering Evidence

A Florida personal injury lawyer can collect and preserve evidence demonstrating the driver’s distraction at the time of the accident. This may include obtaining traffic camera footage, photographs from the scene, and any available eyewitness testimonies. 

Additionally, lawyers can request cell phone records to determine if the driver was using their phone during the incident. These pieces of evidence are vital in establishing that the driver was not paying full attention to the road.

Expert Testimonies

Experienced personal injury attorneys often collaborate with accident reconstruction experts and medical professionals to strengthen the victim’s case. Accident reconstruction experts can recreate the scene to illustrate how the driver’s distracted behavior led to the collision. 

Medical professionals can testify about the extent of the pedestrian’s injuries and how they relate to the accident. These expert testimonies provide compelling support, demonstrating the link between the driver’s negligence and the pedestrian’s injuries.

Reviewing Police Reports

Police reports are essential documents in pedestrian accident claims. A personal injury lawyer will meticulously review these reports to identify any indication of distracted driving noted by law enforcement. 

If the police accident report mentions that the driver was talking on the phone, texting, or otherwise distracted, this information can significantly bolster your claim. Your lawyer can use this report as a foundation for arguing the driver’s distraction was the primary accident cause.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies often seek to minimize payouts in a bid to maximize profits. Consequently, they may challenge the claim that the driver was distracted. A seasoned lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

As your representative, they will present the compiled evidence to advocate for fair compensation. Your Florida pedestrian accident lawyer can counter any arguments made by the insurer to downplay the driver’s negligence.

By handling these negotiations, your lawyer ensures that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. If the insurer refuses to settle, they can also represent you in court.

In Florida, personal injury claims are subject to strict deadlines known as statutes of limitations. A personal injury lawyer ensures that all necessary paperwork is filed promptly and accurately, preventing any risk of missing these critical deadlines. 

By managing these legal timelines, your lawyer helps maintain the integrity of the claim. This allows you to focus on recovery without the stress of legal procedures. In summary, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida is instrumental in proving that a driver was distracted in a pedestrian accident claim.

Through diligent evidence collection, expert collaboration, thorough review of police reports, skilled negotiation, and adherence to legal deadlines, your pedestrian accident lawyer can build a robust case to secure justice and compensation for you.

Talk to Jones Law Group About Your Pedestrian Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver Today

Jones Law Group is a dedicated personal injury law firm committed to assisting pedestrian accident victims in obtaining the compensation they deserve for their losses and injuries. 

Our experienced personal injury attorneys understand the complexities of distracted driving cases and work tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable. We offer personalized attention and expert legal guidance to ensure that our clients receive fair settlements.

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Contact Jones Law Group today by calling (727) 571-1333 or submitting this contact form to book your free consultation. Let us help you navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you deserve.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio