A distracted driver reaching for his cell phone crashed into three vehicles parking along South Apopka Vineland Road early this morning. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper and a Windermere police officer had pulled over a motorist to issue her a speeding ticket when Chris Patterson approached, began looking down in his car searching for his cell phone, and veered off the road impacting all three vehicles. Mr. Patterson was so distracted that he apparently did not see two police cars with full emergency lights activated on a traffic stop. Luckily both officers had yet to exit their vehicles and were sitting in their cars when Mr. Patterson arrived on the scene.
The two law enforcement officers were injured and taken by ambulance for treatment. The Florida Highway Patrol trooper had to be cut out of his vehicle by the jaws of life. The two law enforcement officers were treated and (thankfully) released from the hospital with only minor injuries. Mr. Patterson was field sobriety tested but did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol. Local news outlets are reporting that Mr. Patterson’s license had already been revoked for multiple traffic violations in recent years.
As I have discussed several times this year, distracted driving is one of the biggest problems we face on Orlando roadways. Cell phones, texting, and soon — web surfing — all increase the change that a distracted driver will make a mistake and hurt or kill somebody. The Florida Legislature refused to do anything about texting while driving last session. What do you think about distracted driving?