Florida Distracted Driving Accidents Largely Underreported, Study Says

May 10, 2013

We know that cell phone-related car crashes deaths are a problem. We just don’t know the full scope of the issue. 

However, cell phone-using drivers are the cause of many more fatal car accidents than anyone ever thought, according to a new release from the National Safety Council (NSC).

Our Boca Raton car accident lawyers understand that it’s an even bigger problem here in the state of Florida as we currently have no laws on the books to keep drivers off their phones and text messaging devices. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), we are one of the only states left who has not enacted an kind of anti-distraction driving laws. A measure that would finally ban texting and driving has passed the legislature and now awaits the governor’s signature.

According to The Washington Post, drivers aren’t likely to admit that an accident was their fault and that they were using a cell phone while it happened. Even when drivers are busted for this poor driving behavior, officials aren’t always recording the cause in accident reports.

“There are wide-ranging, negative ramifications to safety if a fatal crash factor is substantially underreported, as appears to be the case of cellphone use in crashes,” said Bill Windsor with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, which helped fund this study.

These kinds of statistics help to identify and eliminate common causes of accidents. They help officials to sort their prevention priorities, help to determine where national and local funds are allocated for prevention efforts, help to attract the media’s attention in prevention and help lawmakers to determine the best route for new laws.

Currently, there is no reliable method to accurately determine how many accidents involve cell phone use, therefore it’s impossible to know the true scope of the problem.

In the state of Florida, officials report that less than .5 percent of car accidents in 2011 were caused by cell phone-using drivers, according to the NSC’s “Crashes Involving Cell Phones” report.

According to researchers, about 25 percent of all car accidents involve a cell phone-using driver. Others believe that this number is even higher — especially when you add in distractions of all kinds, including text messages, GPS devices, email checking, internet surfing and other electronic device use.

Still, the fight is far from over. As Florida lawmakers dabble with possible distracted driving laws, the National Transportation Safety Board is still working on a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving.

While it may not yet be law here in Florida, drivers know that it’s dangerous to take their attention off the road. As phones being the most common form of distraction, drivers are asked to hang up the phone when they’re behind the wheel and the car is in motion.

If you or your teen driver has been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.