Posted: April 25, 2016
Last modified: January 19, 2017

Throughout the month of April, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is reminding motorists to fully focus on driving and not drive distracted.

In 2015, there were more than 45,700 distracted driving crashes in Florida resulting in more than 39,000 injuries and more than 200 fatalities. Distracted driving crashes accounted for 12.2 percent of all crashes in Florida last year, 7.4 percent of fatal crashes and 15.4 percent of all injury crashes.

The three categories of driver distractions are visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) and cognitive (thinking about anything other than driving). Texting requires all three categories, making it one of the most dangerous distracted driving behaviors. However, texting is not the only driver distraction. Distractions can include talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup, reaching to comfort a child in the back seat, eating, tuning the radio, checking a GPS navigation device or even daydreaming.

Last year in the state, almost 20,000 distracted drivers under the age of 30 were involved in a crash. The age group with the largest number of distracted driving crashes was 20–24 year-olds (17.8 percent), followed by 25–29 year-olds (14.3 percent) and then 15–19 year-olds (11.6 percent). Parents should talk with their kids about responsible driving behaviors and always model focused driving.

“Safety is FDOT’s number one priority,” stated FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold in a joint press release with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition. “We encourage motorists to pay attention to the road and avoid distractions, such as texting, eating or interacting with other passengers that may draw your eyes and attention away. Pedestrians should also be alert and avoid walking while texting.”

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