Over the past decade, texting while driving (and other related forms of distraction) has become one of the leading causes of car accidents in the State of Florida and across the United States as a whole. Due to the rise of cell phone usage and all of their associated gizmos, gadgets and applications, it is not surprising that as a result, a car accident occurs approximately every ten seconds in the U.S. Specifically, nation-wide surveys reveal that nearly two-thirds of all drivers admitted to reading text messages or emailing while driving. Even more daunting is the fact in Florida alone, the more than 4,500 accidents that occurred last year were all attributed to some form of distracted driving, with more than 250 linked specifically to texting.
In an effort to increase the safety of Florida drivers, Governor Rick Scott recently signed SB 52, a new law that implements a state-wide ban on texting while driving. Florida has now joined the majority of states that have enacted strict legislative measures against this dangerous practice. As part of the new law, drivers must be stopped by police for a separate traffic infraction before being issued a ticket for texting while driving. The cost of the ticket is $30 for each infraction.
In light of the above, some Floridians are claiming that the law is too weak in that it does not punish texting while driving as a primary offense. In fact, according to one parent whose daughter
was killed by a distracted driver, he doesn't believe that the law will change people's behavior. Specifically, he asserts that nearly everyone can afford a $30 ticket, which makes it highly unlikely that people will stop texting while driving.
Despite the alleged shortcomings associated with Florida's new anti-texting legislation, there are ways in which you can help enforce the law and also, keep yourself safe while on the road. These are as follows:
1. Don't take cell phone calls when driving. Pull over if you need to answer a call, or call the person back once you have stopped your vehicle.
2. Don't text and drive. Driving while "intexticated" has caused thousands of accidents nationwide, simply because "it couldn't wait". In actuality, it can't and should always wait. In this view, never check your text messages or emails while driving. Take the high road by pulling over or stopping your vehicle before answering a text. To ease the temptations associated with texting while driving, it is highly recommended that you shut your phone off so that you can focus your eyes on the road and not on your cell phone. Undoubtedly, these simple measures can mean the difference between life and death.
3. Consider your options regarding anti-texting software, especially for teenagers. These types of applications suspend a phone's ability to send and receive text messages while in a moving vehicle.
4. Report others on the road who appear to be driving recklessly due to distracted driving. This is the easiest step that you can take to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of others on the road. Make sure to get the make, model and license plate number of the vehicle before calling police.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our Miami Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation. We will take the time necessary to review your case and provide you with the full scope of your legal rights and options. Our attorneys are available 24/7 through e-mail or answering service. Call us at either (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400, or feel free to contact us online to find out how our client-oriented and individualized approach can work for you. Let the seasoned Miami Car Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.