There’s a car crash on an average of every 12 minutes in Florida because a driver was paying attention to a cell phone or other electronic device instead of watching the road, making the Sunshine State one of the most dangerous places in America to travel by car. These avoidable car accidents caused more than 3,500 serious injuries and 233 deaths last year.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), distracted driving is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths a year across the country. AAA research has shown that it takes nearly a half minute to refocus attention to the road after looking at a text or checking a navigation device – which can be deadly when traveling at high speeds. Teen drivers cause the majority of distracted driving car accidents.
Using Gadgets Behind the Wheel Reverses Decline in Car Crashes
The use of cell phones and devices by drivers has reversed a nearly 50 year decline in traffic deaths nationwide. Fatalities had been steadily dropping every year since 1966 until 2014. The annual death toll from car accidents began to rise as distracting electronic devices became more popular with drivers. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, the most distracted drivers in the country are in Florida. Annual traffic deaths in the state rose from 2,497 in 2014 to 3,158 in 2016.
Apple is set to include a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature in the next software upgrade for the Iphone. The new Iphone operating system prevents message notifications to drivers. The sender gets an automatic reply that the intended recipient is busy. The safety upgrade comes after a Texas couple sued Apple last year when their daughter died after their car was struck by a driver who was using the phone. The lawsuit alleges that Apple was negligent for not providing the safety feature even though the company patented the software in 2014.