Florida is considering Senate bill 52. If passed, the law would make texting and driving a secondary offense. This means that if drivers were pulled over for another offense and were found to be texting and driving, they would be fined for texting. State Sen. Nancy Detert, who is behind the bill, has been trying to get a texting ban passed in Florida for the past four years. She has faced some criticism from those who think the bill is too weak. She notes that she specifically seeks to make texting a secondary offense to make it more likely that the bill will pass. In the past, similar bills have not been able to pass the House. Last Wednesday, the bill was approved by The Florida Senate Transportation Committee.
In addition to Senate Bill 52, there is another texting-related bill lawmakers are putting forward. State Rep. Irv Slosberg and Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando are filing Senate Bill 708. If passed, that law would allow charged of vehicular homicide to be charged in cases where drivers cause accidents while texting and driving. If that bill passes, it will mean tougher penalties for texting drivers – even if Florida still remains a state where texting and driving are not technically illegal.
Florida is currently one of only eleven states to have no bans on texting and driving. This is despite the fact that numerous research studies and experts have noted that texting while driving is extremely dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, has reported that drivers who text while driving are more than 23 times more likely to be in a crash when compared with un-distracted drivers.
Will a texting bill reduce the number of traffic and car accidents in Miami and South Florida? Many experts and lawmakers think so. The number of studies suggesting that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving is growing. Legislation against drunk driving has helped reduce instances of drunk driving accidents in Miami and Florida, although these preventable accidents can still occur. Reducing distracted driving caused by texting could help reduce rear-end accidents in Miami – and other accidents caused by distraction.
Commercial truck drivers are already prohibited from texting while driving, thanks to federal rules. However, drivers in passenger cars can still cause catastrophic accidents when they choose to look at their mobile devices rather than at the road when driving. Passing legislation would at least allow police to stop drivers who text and drive and allow them to issue tickets.
However, the road to legislation is long. Numerous texting bills have already failed to pass in Florida. Many legislators feel that such bills put too many restrictions on personal freedoms. Some feel that the bills are not tough enough or do not take into consideration the many ways that distraction can occur in a car. While most lawmakers acknowledge that texting and distracted driving do cause traffic accidents in Miami and across Florida, there is no consensus on how to stop these accidents from happening.
Even though there is currently no texting ban in place, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you do have options. The at-fault driver can be charged for reckless driving. You can also seek a legal claim against the driver in civil court, seeking compensation for your injuries and sending a message about the dangers of distracted driving. If you would like to know more, schedule a free, no obligation consultation with the Flaxman Law Group to go over your situation with a personal injury attorney.