The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is urging motorists to eliminate distractions while driving in an effort to reduce distracted driving crashes statewide. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a division of the FLHSMV, is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to promote April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
In 2018, there were more than 52,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida. That means, on average in 2018, there were more than 1,000 distracted driving crashes every week. In 2018, April had the second highest number of fatalities from distracted driving crashes.
Drivers under age 30 accounted for 30 percent of all fatalities from distracted driving crashes. Parents should talk with their children about responsible driving and always model safe driving behavior.
Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or mind off driving. It is extremely risky behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger. There are different kinds of driver distractions:
Texting requires all three types of distraction, making it one of the most dangerous of distracted driving behaviors. However, this is not the only cause of distracted driving. Other common distractions include: tending to kids or passengers in the back seat, eating, watching an event outside of the vehicle, interacting with passengers, unsecured pets, putting on makeup or grooming, adjusting radio or climate controls, checking your GPS app or system and even daydreaming.
To successfully avoid a crash, a driver must perceive a hazard, react and give the vehicle time to stop. Driver perception distance, or the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver sees a hazard until the brain recognizes it, and reaction distance, the distance a car will continue to travel after seeing a hazard until the driver physically hits the brakes, dramatically affects a vehicle’s stopping distance. Even a focused driver going 50 mph will travel nearly the length of a football field before coming to a complete stop.
Visit FLHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous and drunk drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911.