Driving a car requires constant attention and focus on the road and one’s surroundings. Any form of distraction or impairment poses a serious risk to drivers, passengers, and fellow vehicles. In St. Petersburg, Florida, distracted driving and drunk driving are two of the leading causes of car accidents.
Both distracted and drunk driving have harmful effects on road safety. They lead to injuries, fatalities, and property damage. But which of these two dangerous behaviors causes more accidents in the St. Petersburg area?
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving. Forms of distraction can include activities such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, grooming, or adjusting vehicle settings. Distracted driving is put into three categories:
Visual: Removing your eyes from the road
Manual: Removing your hands from the wheel
Cognitive: Having your mind on anything other than driving
Distracted driving has become a major concern in recent years. From 2015 to 2019, distracted driving crashes increased by a shocking 53% in the state of Florida as a whole, according to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
How Common Are Accidents In St. Petersburg Due To Distracted Driving?
When people spend their whole day behind the wheel, the chances for them to drive while distracted increase exponentially. Since the St. Petersburg area is a dense metropolitan area, people spend long hours in their vehicles. The temptation to text or check their phones during this time is immense and may lead to more accidents. According to FLHSMV’s Crash Dashboard System, there were 1,616 traffic crashes attributed to distracted driving in Pinellas County in 2022. These accidents resulted in 51 serious injuries and 6 fatalities.
What Are The Rates Of Accidents From Drunk Driving?
Similar to distracted driving, drunk driving is a highly dangerous behavior that puts lives at risk. When operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a person’s motor skills and decision-making abilities are impaired. This reduced ability significantly increases the likelihood of having an accident.
St. Petersburg is one of the most dangerous regions in the state for drunk-driving accidents. In 2022, Pinellas County had 6,371 crashes with injuries due to impairment from drugs or alcohol and 118 tragic fatalities. These numbers are clearly higher than data related to distracted driving.
Is Drunk Or Distracted Driving A Bigger Cause of Accidents in St. Petersburg?
The data is clear that driving under the influence causes more accidents leading to injuries and death. Nonetheless, there’s no denying the adverse impact that both distracted driving and drunk driving have on road safety in St. Petersburg. Looking at the limitations of statistical data, it’s important to consider that some accidents might involve both behaviors simultaneously. If alcohol or drugs were involved, it may override the fact that the driver was also distracted, shifting the data in that way.
It’s crucial to remember that comparing these two dangerous behaviors should not diminish the severity of either one. Both distracted driving and drunk driving take lives, cause injuries, and result in substantial property damage. They should be approached with utmost seriousness and eradicated through robust preventive measures.
Efforts must continue to combat both practices effectively by enforcing legislation, enhancing public awareness campaigns, promoting education programs, conducting DUI checkpoints, and implementing comprehensive road safety initiatives. By prioritizing safe driving practices and eliminating these dangerous behaviors from our roads, St. Petersburg can work towards a future where its streets are safer.
How Does The St. Petersburg Area Plan To Reduce Accidents From Drunk And Distracted Driving?
Efforts to combat both distracted driving and drunk driving are continuously being made in St. Petersburg. Local law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in enforcing necessary precautions and implementing strict measures. Police officers regularly conduct DUI checkpoints to identify and deter drunk drivers. Additionally, many DUI campaigns run throughout the year to increase public awareness and educate individuals about the risks and consequences associated with driving under the influence.
The legal system is crucial in discouraging distracted driving and drunk driving. In Florida, texting while driving is considered a primary offense as of July 2019. This legal shift means law enforcement officers can pull over drivers solely for that offense. The penalties for violating Florida’s ban on texting while driving range from fines to points on the driver’s license. Moreover, drivers who cause serious injury or death while texting behind the wheel can face felony charges. A St. Petersburg drunk and distracted driving accident attorney can further clarify any questions you may have about these legal intricacies.
In St. Petersburg specifically, organizations such as the Vision Zero initiative are devoted to making local roads safer by preventing traffic fatalities. Vision Zero incorporates education, enforcement, engineering, and evaluation methods to address road safety issues comprehensively. Annually, numerous events are organized to promote safe driving behaviors and raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving.
What Kinds of Injuries Result from Distracted or Drunk Driving Accidents?
Distracted or drunk driving accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, many of which can qualify for personal injury claims. To find out if your injuries qualify, reach out to a St. Petersburg drunk and distracted driving accident attorney. Some of these kinds of injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Accidents can cause head injuries, ranging from concussions to severe brain trauma. TBIs may result in long-term cognitive and physical impairments.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
Accidents sometimes damage or compress the spinal cord, potentially causing paralysis or partial loss of movement and sensation.
Collisions can easily cause bone fractures or breaks. Broken bones can occur all over the body, such as in limbs, ribs, pelvis, or skull.
Internal Organ Damage
The impact from a car crash may cause damage to internal organs like the liver, spleen, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Ruptures or internal bleeding can be life-threatening and require serious medical care.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Whiplash, strains, sprains, and tears in muscles, tendons, or ligaments are common in all kinds of car accidents.
Accidents can involve vehicle fires that inflict severe burns on victims.
Victims of distracted or drunk driving accidents may experience psychological trauma, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.
The face is particularly exposed during an accident. Facial injuries include lacerations, fractures, and dental damage. These injuries can lead to long-lasting disfigurement or functional impairment.
Unfortunately, some distracted or drunk driving accidents can result in fatalities. These tragic events have profound consequences for victims’ families and loved ones.
What If I’m Hurt in An Accident From Drunk or Distracted Driving?
If you are hurt in an accident caused by drunk or distracted driving, it is important to take the following steps:
Prioritize Your Health
Ensure your safety and seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Even if you don’t notice any immediate symptoms, it’s recommended to get evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out hidden injuries.
Contact Law Enforcement
Report the accident to the local law enforcement or call 911 if necessary. They will document the incident and create an official report which can serve as important evidence later on.
Collect information at the scene, including names, contact details, and insurance information of all parties involved. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, damages, and injuries. Obtain witness statements and contact whenever possible.
Seek Legal Counsel
Consult with a St. Petersburg drunk and distracted driving accident attorney who specializes in motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk or distracted driving. They can help protect your rights, guide you through legal procedures, and evaluate potential compensation claims. A St. Petersburg drunk and distracted driving accident attorney can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Notify Insurance Companies
Inform your insurance company about the accident and provide them with all relevant details including the other party’s insurance information.
Maintain a record of all accident-related expenses such as medical bills, rehabilitation costs, transportation expenses aides to assist — costs that resulted due to your injuries.
Follow Medical Advice
Keep track of all medical treatment received and follow any prescribed treatments or therapy plans recommended by your healthcare provider.
Remember that each case is unique, so consulting with a St. Petersburg drunk and distracted driving accident attorney will allow you to fully understand your options based on the specific circumstances surrounding your accident.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
Don’t suffer alone after a drunk or distracted driving accident. Your rights matter, and you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been hurt in such an accident, take action now. Our experienced team of St. Petersburg drunk and distracted driving accident attorneys is here to help.
With a free consultation, we can assess the details of your case and provide personalized legal guidance on how to proceed. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay—contact us today to schedule your free consultation.