The Florida Highway Patrol urges people driving on Florida roadways to focus on driving as Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes to a close.
- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
- FHP: Almost 50,000 crashes last year involved distracted driving
- Below: More stats, facts about distracted driving
A.J. Baxter bikes a few times a week.
But enjoying the ride can be difficult when sharing the road with distracted drivers.
"We do a coffee ride on Sunday's and we were riding down Linebaugh, and there were about six or seven of us in the bike lane," Baxter said. "And there was a gentleman, early 20s probably, in his truck with his phone up on his steering wheel and just weaved over and just pushed us all into the grass," said Baxter.
A close call for the cyclists. But not everyone is so lucky.
Whether the distraction is a phone, the radio or food, the Florida Highway Reports in 2017 there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving.
Baxter’s message to those drivers: "Just be safe and just pay attention, think of it as your mom or your kid out there."
Pay attention out there, because FHP says those distractions lower a driver's reaction time to effectively avoid a crash
"You just try and be safe and get home," said Baxter.
MORE FACTS AND STATS ABOUT DISTRACTED DRIVING
- Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off driving.
- Distractions can include texting, putting on makeup, reaching behind you to comfort a child in the back seat, eating, tuning the radio, or checking your phone’s navigation system. In fact, “inattentive” was the top distraction among drivers.
- Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions because it requires manual, visual and cognitive ability - the same abilities that are needed to drive safely.
- The department reminds drivers that whatever the text, phone call or lunch, it can wait. Keep your eyes on the road and get to your destination safely.
- Distracted driving crashes made up more than 12 percent of all crashes in Florida in 2017.
- More than 50,000 crashes occurred by distracted drivers in Florida in 2016, resulting in 220 fatalities and more than 3,000 serious bodily injuries.
- That means, every day, there are more than 137 distracted driving crashes across our state, more than five crashes every hour.
- Drivers age 20–24 years-old made up the highest number of distracted driving crashes, followed closely by 25–29 year olds second and 15–19 year-olds third.
- In fact, drivers under the age of 30 accounted for more than 20,000 distracted driving crashes. More than 10,000 crashes last year were due to inattentiveness—not being focused on driving.
- Teens in 2017 were responsible for 11 percent of all distracted driving crashes.
- Parents should talk with their kids about responsible driving, keep eyes on the road at all times and always model good driving behavior.
- Many things can create distractions while driving. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reminds drivers to keep their eyes on the road and focus on driving.
- Driving distracted can not only hurt you and your passengers, but can greatly influence the driving behavior of others, especially young, impressionable drivers.
- Distracted driving crashes are increasing every year, and every day, we read about tragic, preventable crashes on Florida roads.