An early morning Miami car accident killed one man is believed to have been caused by texting-and-driving, investigators told NBC-6 Miami.
Authorities report the incident happened shortly after 1 a.m. on a Thursday morning. At that time, a 25-year-old operating a sport utility vehicle southbound on U.S. 1 reportedly blew through a red light at Douglas Road. He was allegedly texting at the time of the crash.
The vehicle went out-of-control, striking two palm trees. He was also allegedly struck by a car that was traveling in the opposite direction. The SUV then turned over. Nearby witnesses described the sound as, “like a bomb.”
The 25-year-old driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the vehicle that had been traveling northbound thankfully was not injured. However, U.S. 1 had to be shut down for hours, re-opening only just after 5:30 a.m. the following morning.
Investigators said cocaine was found in the vehicle, but it is too early to tell whether decedent was under the influence of that drug or if it may have played any kind of a role in the crash.
Driver distraction is a serious issue in Florida and beyond. It’s an extremely risky behavior, and it places drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists in danger of injury and death. Drivers who are focused on the road are overall safer.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) reports there are three basic kinds of driver distraction:
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel;
- Cognitive – thinking about something other than the road.
Texting checks all three of those boxes, which is what makes it one of the most perilous kinds of driver distraction. What’s worse, because virtually everyone has a cell phone, the problem is extremely widespread. These drivers are not just a threat to themselves and their passengers, but as our Miami car accident lawyers know: They are a threat to everyone else with whom they share the road.
The FDHSMV reports that there were a total of 45,740 distracted driving crashes statewide in 2015. Of those, 25,560 crashes resulted in injury for a total of 40,000 injuries.
Just in Miami-Dade County, there were a total of 4,445 distracted driving crashes last year with 1,996 of those causing a total of 3,227 injuries. Sixteen of those cases were fatal. Authorities in the county issued 689 texting-and-driving citations last year, which per F.S. 316.305 is a secondary offense punishable by a minor monetary fine.
In Broward, there were 3,762 distracted driving crashes in 2015 resulting in 1,944 injury crashes that resulted in nearly 3,000 injuries. A total of 8 deaths were attributable to distracted driving. Officials in the county issued 402 distracted driving citations that year as well.
Most recently, the Pokemon Go game craze that has swept many communities in the U.S. has sparked concerns of yet another form of driver distraction.
State authorities and even the AAA have released statements urging drivers to avoid playing the game while driving.
Some signs indicated that “Pokemon Go is a No-Go When Driving.”
Statewide, there were approximately 3,500 texting-while-driving citations issued by law enforcement. A number of legislative proposals are on the table that would strengthen the state’s texting-and-driving law to a primary offense with a stiffer fine.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
Early Morning Car Crash Caused by Texting in Miami Kills One on U.S. 1, July 14, 2016, Staff Report, NBC-6 Miami
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Allen v. Montalvan – Florida Car Accident Settlement Reversed, July 16, 2016, Miami Car Accident Lawyer Blog