Florida Lawmakers Prepare to Toughen up Texting Drivers
Everyone knows that texting and driving is dangerous. Even though distracted driving is dangerous, the legal consequences for texting and driving are weaker in Florida than other states. This means that victims of accidents involving texting and driving end up paying the price for this dangerous behavior. Oftentimes the victims of accidents caused by texting drivers suffer from minor cuts, bruises and broken bones. In the worst case, a victim may suffer traumatic brain injury or never survive injuries caused by an accident. Unfortunately, there is not much law enforcement can do to deter texting and driving. However, this could all change as Florida lawmakers consider raising the stakes for drivers who text and drive.
Texting and Driving is a Secondary Offense
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that that at any moment in time there are nearly 660,000 drivers using cellphones or distracted by other handheld devices while driving. Sadly, these drivers cause nearly 3,154 fatal accidents each year. In an effort to decrease the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers in Florida, lawmakers have reintroduced a modification to the law that would authorize law enforcement officers to enforce Florida’s texting and driving laws. The Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law makes texting and driving a secondary offense. This means that law enforcement officers do not have the authority to stop a driver just for texting and driving. To be sure, there has to be another reason for a stop before an officer can issue a citation for texting and driving.
Lawmakers will make and Driving a Primary Offense
Florida’s lawmakers have recognized that law enforcement’s inability to regulate texting and driving has only allowed the behavior to continue, resulting in traffic accidents and fatalities. House Bill 537, introduced by republican W. Keith Perry, revises Florida’s law and makes texting and driving a primary offense. This change would finally give police officers the authority needed to stop drivers and issue citations for texting and driving. If the new law passes, it would go into effect on October 1, 2016.
Drivers don’t fear Consequence of Texting and Driving
This change in the law is very important as a survey conducted by State Farm Insurance Co. reveals that cell phones use has decreased, but texting while driving has remained nearly the same. Furthermore, using a device to access the Internet has nearly doubled going from 13 in 2009 percent to 29 percent in 2015.
Seek Help from an Attorney
While we all understand the dangers of distracted and texting driving, drivers never believe they will cause an accident that may seriously or fatally injure another person. This change in Florida may cause drivers to think twice before texting and driving, but it’s almost certain that accidents caused by texting drivers will still occur. If a texting driver has injured you, the Miami attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at 305-371-3111 to schedule an appointment to talk about your accident.