A new survey initiated by Kelley Blue Book reveals nearly 97 percent of consumers feel distracted drivers who talk or text on their cell phones while they driver are their No. 1 safety concern on the road.cellphone-300x200

That means it was bigger than drunk driving, bigger than drugged driving and even bigger than fatigued semi-truck drivers.

Results came from 1,280 respondents who submitted to the questionnaire between Oct. 8 and 12th. Of those who were surveyed, 9 out of 10 were aware of local ordinances and states laws pertaining to texting and driving. Still, it’s something they are scared about – and likely with good reason.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports an estimated 3,300 people were killed and more than 420,000 injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. At any given moment, the agency reports, 660,000 vehicles are being driven by an individual who is using a hand-held phone. This powerful video is a reminder of how just a few seconds of distraction can forever change – or even end – lives. The public safety announcement reminds motorists that, “If you’re texting, you’re not driving.”

Florida was one of the very last states to enact a texting-while-driving law in 2013. Many still complain the measure has done little to curb distraction behind the wheel because it has no teeth. F.S. 316.305prohibits the use of wireless communication devices while driving, otherwise known as the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” But here’s the problem: The offense of texting while driving is a secondary one, meaning officers can’t pull over a driver merely for violation of that law. There has to be some other primary offense (i.e., running a red light, failure to yield, speeding, etc.) that triggers the traffic stop.

It makes little sense considering the extreme danger this action poses.

It’s an issue Kelley Blue Book survey respondents seem well to understand. Some 80 percent said they were convinced the majority of texting-while-driving occurs with operators between the ages of 19 and 34 behind the wheel. They see this threat as a more significant safety concern than road rage, weather conditions or drunk driving.

Despite the fact that an overwhelming number of people said it really scared them that other drivers were texting, 20 percent conceded they send text messages when they drive, and half of those responded it was because “It can’t wait.” Only about half of those under 35 who admit to texting and driving say their operation of a vehicle is compromised when they text or call while driving. A third of them said it would probably take being involved in an accident before they would stop. Of course, who knows if they would survive such a collision in order to follow through.

Disturbingly, three-fourths of respondents have confidence that technology is going to make it safer and easier to communicate in a vehicle. With the exception of self-driving vehicles, it’s not safe for drivers to engage in activities other than driving while behind the wheel. This revelation underscores another point about whether all this in-vehicle communication technology is helping or hurting. Vehicle manufacturers say they are working to make it safer for drivers who are going to do it anyway. Others say this provides drivers with a false sense of security.

If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

Survey: Distracted Drivers Worse Than Drunk Drivers, Oct. 21, 2015, By Terri Lynn, SouthFloridaReporter.com