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Cell Phone Use While Driving

Cell phone use is sadly becoming a common situation that occurs while driving, whether in town or on the freeway.  The modern world has become extremely communication oriented, and as cell phones have grown to ubiquity and cellular data plans have become more and more inexpensive society has had to contend first with people who operate a vehicle while distracted by talking on their phones, to the somewhat more recent, and significantly more dangerous issue of drivers texting or going online while driving a car.  It may not surprise anyone to find out that this increase in the use of mobile communication devices has led to a corresponding spike in the number of car accidents that have been linked to distracted driving.

Studies by groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have given statistical proof to what people have known for years now: there are close parallels between the lack of control people experience while using cell phones while behind the wheel and the effects of driving while intoxicated.  Government studies of impairment in drivers who were texting while behind the wheel showed approximately the same rates of impaired driving, things like weaving into oncoming traffic, delayed braking, following too closely, etc., as were seen in drivers who had consumed four beers before operating a motor vehicle.

Enforcement crackdowns by police departments, less leniency in the courts, and extensive public awareness campaigns have caused the number of drunk driving fatalities in the United States to drop by around 25% over the last few years, but during this same time period the number of accidents that were caused by distracted drivers has increased by 22%, resulting in very little improvement in the overall safety of our nation’s roadways.  Texting while driving alone, according to the NHTSA, causes about 25% of all car accidents in our country; about 1.6 million each year.

Changing Laws

States and individual cities across the country have been rapidly passing laws to regulate the use of cell phones by drivers over the last few years, and at this time 41 states have made it illegal for people to text while driving.  In 11 states drivers are prohibited from using hand held cellular phones entirely.  The number of locations with these types of statutes is growing rapidly, so if you feel that it may be necessary for you to use your cell phone while driving it is a good idea to know what the laws in the areas you will be traveling through are in this regard: in many jurisdictions fines for violations can be substantial.

As of March 2016, It is currently not illegal to use a handheld or hands free cell phone for voice calls in the state of Florida, however it has been illegal since 2013 for any driver to text while operating a vehicle.  Texting while driving is considered a secondary offense, so a law enforcement officer cannot stop a driver for only that reason: there must be an underlying violation of some sort to initiate a traffic stop, at which point the driver may be ticketed.

Contact An Experienced Miami Car Accident Attorney

If you or somebody you know has been injured by a distracted driver in the Miami area, the attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. can help.  Our legal team has the experience necessary to fight the insurance companies to make sure you get the full recovery you are entitled to.  In legal proceedings time is always of the essence, and we encourage you to speak with a member of our staff at 305-371-3111 or online today.

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