Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions and it appears to only be getting worse. A survey recently conducted by State Farm reveals that drivers continue to text and drive at higher rates, and are now accessing the internet while driving at twice the rate they were in 2009. Interestingly, even drivers who admit to smartphone use while driving state that they believe distracted driving laws should be strengthened. Improving laws so as to provide greater legal deterrents would, they report, lead to diminished cell phone use.
Texting and Driving in Florida is a Secondary Offense
In the state of Florida, we do have laws in place banning texting and driving. However, these laws make texting while driving a secondary offense. This means that in order to cite a driver for texting while driving, police officers would need to pull the driver over for something else first. Secondary laws make it difficult for police officers to truly enforce a texting ban because so many drivers will not have committed another offense that allows the officer to stop them.
Texting while driving is already a difficult offense to enforce. Drivers who are intent on texting or accessing the internet while driving can place their cell phones down low where police officers may not see them. Highway patrol and local police notoriously find it difficult to cite drivers for texting while driving. However, making texting laws merely secondary offenses complicates the matter further. Drivers across Florida currently have little fear of legal or financial consequences of texting while driving. This creates a dangerous mindset, allowing drivers to continue to engage in this dangerous behavior.
Lawmakers are Calling for Reform of Texting While Driving Laws
In light of the continuing high rate of distracted drivers, a new legislative bill has been introduced for the 2016 session which would make texting while driving a primary offense. This means that if an officer spots a driver texting while driving, they can pull the driver over without need for another offense. Other states have found that primary enforcement laws do have an effect on lowering distracted driving rates. Lawmakers in Florida hope that a change to our current law will have a similar impact.
Anyone who has been injured in a distracted driving accident should consult with a licensed attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will evaluate the accident and determine whether you may have the right to recover against the at-fault driver. If the driver was texting and driving, this could be sufficient to establish negligence. Negligent drivers can be held accountable for the injuries they inflict, which could include compensating victims for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, continued rehabilitation costs, and much more.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Assisting the Victims of Distracted Driving
If you or a loved one has been injured in distracted driving related car accident in South Florida, the Miami Automobile Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano are here to help. Our exceptional firm offers over 130 collective years of experience representing car accident victims across South Florida. Our dedicated lawyer staff provides legal representation of unmatched excellence, evidenced by our array of awards. We received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and are ranked as a top firm in South Florida by the Miami Herald. Contact our firm as soon as possible to start on the road to protecting your legal rights. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or you can visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.