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The Villages
Thursday, April 18, 2024

Distracted driving can be deadly on Florida roadways

A crash occurs every 44 seconds in Florida, and one in seven crashes involve distracted drivers. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), our division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), and our campaign partners remind drivers that distracted driving is dangerous driving. Preliminary numbers indicate that in 2023, nearly 300 people in Florida died due to distracted driving, up 23 deaths from 2022.

Distracted driving is an offense often underreported because the nature of the offense means that the behaviors associated with distracted driving do not fall under one statute but instead may fall under several, including Texting and DrivingCareless DrivingFailure to Maintain a Single Lane and Aggressive Careless Driving.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as any activity that causes the driver to divert their attention from driving, such as texting or talking on the phone, eating or drinking, conversing with passengers, or adjusting the car’s entertainment or navigation system. These activities can distract a driver from the crucial task of driving safely.

In Florida, texting while driving is a primary offense under Florida’s Wireless Communications While Driving law. Law enforcement can stop a vehicle solely for using a wireless communications device while driving, including in active work and school zones.

Additionally, other behaviors that commonly occur due to driving while distracted may constitute statutory violations such as careless driving, failure to maintain a single lane or when two or more of the following acts happen at the same time or in succession, they could fall under aggressive careless:

  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Unsafe or improper lane change
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Violating traffic control and signal devices
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Improper passing

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