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The Villages
Friday, October 15, 2021

Distracted driving caused more than 48,000 accidents last year in Florida

A husband and wife who were arguing last year crashed their SUV into the gate at the entrance to the Village of Bonita.

The woman’s husband told her she was driving in the wrong direction. Seconds later she crashed into the gate.

It’s a perfect example of the type of distracted driving that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol has been trying to halt.

Preliminarily in 2020, there were more than 48,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida – 75 percent of which were caused by the driver being inattentive behind the wheel. These crashes resulted in nearly 300 fatalities and more than 2,700 serious bodily injuries. On average in 2020, there were more than 900 distracted driving crashes every week across in Florida.

In The Villages, there are many factors that contribute to distracted driving, including distracted driving that takes place in golf carts:

• So many new areas in The Villages that residents may not be familiar.

• Talking on cell phones, particularly in golf carts.

• Allowing grandchildren, who are inexperienced drivers, behind the wheel of a golf cart.

• Texting.

• Pets riding along in vehicles.

“Driving a vehicle on our roadways is a task that requires our full attention, all of the time. When we aren’t focused on driving, it limits our ability to come to a stop or simply slow down and move over when approaching a dangerous situation,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Make it a priority to eliminate distractions every time you get behind the wheel. I am confident that working together, we can avoid the senseless tragedies that occur on our roadways every day from driving distracted. Remember, the life you save may be yours or one of your loved ones.”

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