In 2009, roughly 26 people were injured in a car accident every hour in Florida. That’s over 600 per day. Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of accidents is careless driving. That means that people are often injured to due someone else’s negligence. When the crash happens you might find yourself confused and anxious. Here are some tips to follow after an accident:

  • It’s important to stay calm and stay at the crash scene. If you are involved in an accident in which there are injuries and you leave the scene, your license may be revoked.
  • Make sure to report the accident. Any accident that has damages or injuries over $500 must be reported. You can call the local police, sheriff’s office or the Florida Highway Patrol.
  • If your car is blocking traffic, make sure to move it. In the event that you can move it yourself, make sure to call the road rangers or a towing company.

What are some of the common causes of accidents?

Driving Under the Influence

When a person drives drunk or high their judgement and reaction time is significantly impaired. In Florida, the legal limit is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08, but the effects of alcohol begin much before that.

  • BAC of 0.02: A person will begin to experience some loss of judgement, as well as a decline in visual functions and the ability to multi-task.
  • BAC of 0.05: Psychomotor performance is greatly imparied; which causes symptoms like slower eye movement, issues with visual perception, reaction time and information processing. This means that a driver suffers from reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficult steering and reduced response to emergency driving situations.
  • BAC of 0.08: Muscle coordination is imparied, causing problems with balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing. It becomes harder to detect danger and things like judgement, self-control, reasoning and memory are impaired resulting in reduced concentration, short-term memory loss, loss of speed control, reduced informed processing capability and impaired perception.

This information was adapted from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

Physical Impairment

There are some drivers who need the assistance of either hearing aids or glasses in order to drive safely. In Florida, there are several types of restrictions that people might have placed on their license. For example, Restriction A means that a driver is required to wear corrective lenses when operating a motorvehcile. Failure to do so is an offense.

  1. Corrective Lenses
  2. Outside Rearview Mirror
  3. Business Purposes
  4. Employment Purposes
  5. Daylight Driving Only
  6. Automatic Transmission
  7. Power Steering
  8. Directional Signals
  9. Grip on Steering Wheel
  10. Hearing Aid
  11. Seat Cushion
  12. Hand Control or Pedal Extension
  13. Left Foot Accelerator

P. Probation-Interlock Device
S. Other Restrictions
T. No Passengers
X. Medical Alert Bracelet
Y. Education Purposes
1. Vehicles Without Airbrakes
2. (CDL) Intrastate Only
3. (CDL) Bus Only
4. CMV <26,001 LBS. GVWR
5. No Tractor/Trailers
6. No Class A Passenger Vehicle
7. No Class B Passenger Vehicle

Information from Florida Highway Safety and Motorvehicles. 

Youth

Younger drivers are at a greater risk for accidents for three reasons: inexperience, impulsiveness and exposure.

Inexperience
Many teens do not have enough practice before obtaining their license. Even with the help of a driver’s education course, it may just give teens a minimal amount of knowledge. One study found that if drivers amassed at least 110 hours of driving practice their chances of an accident significantly decreased.

Impulsiveness
Due to a teen’s cognitive, social and emotional development they may be more likely to engage in impulsive actions. Some research indicates that young drivers are also more easily distracted than more experienced drivers.

Exposure
Teen drivers do a greater portion of their driving in risky conditions. In particular, they drive more often at night and with multiple passengers. Both of these factors increase the likelihood of a crash. That’s why in Florida, teenage drivers have restrictions placed on their license for the first few months.

Information from the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

Old Age

With age, vision and cognitive abilities can begin to decline. In Florida especially, we have a greater number of elderly drivers. Because they often have no other way of getting the things they need, many elderly people will continue to drive, even once it becomes dangerous. Florida drivers over the age of 79 who renew their license will be asked to undergo a basic vision test to ensure they are safely able to operate a vehicle. The Department of Motor Vehicles may also ask elderly driver to re-test for a variety of reasons to help keep the roads safer.

Information from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles .

Distraction

Distracted driving can include many factors, and can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Distractions can include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

Information on Distraction.Gov