Hundreds killed in distracted driving crashes in Florida last year, FHP says

AAA, law enforcement team up to raise awareness of deadly distractions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thousands of people every year die on the nation's roadways because of distracted driving, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Experts and authorities want to see those numbers decrease.

AAA and Florida law enforcement agencies are partnering for Distracted Driving Awareness Month to promote safe habits behind the wheel.

Drivers can be distracted when they take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel or their minds off what they're doing, Florida troopers say. Texting is one of the most dangerous driver distractions because it distracts on all three fronts.

Other dangerous driving distractions include putting on makeup, tending to children in the backseat, eating, tuning the radio, checking GPS navigation and even daydreaming, troopers said.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving resulted in 3,450 deaths in 2016, with nearly one-tenth of fatal crashes reported involving distractions. 

The Florida Highway Patrol said distracted driving crashes have increased 25 percent since 2013, and more than 200 people died in distracted driving crashes in Florida last year.

“Distracted driving is extremely risky behavior that not only puts drivers and passengers in danger, but others out on the road as well,” said FHP Director Col. Gene S. Spaulding. “Focused attention on driving increases your reaction time to dangerous driving situations, helps to prevent crashes and saves lives.”

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