Florida residents who are concerned about the dangers posed to them by the many people who choose to text or make phone calls while driving should take heed. In 2016 alone, more than 200 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. In the same year, a whopping 45,000 motor vehicle accidents are said to have been caused by some form of distracted driving.
The state has had some legislative initiatives to make changes to its approach to distracted driving but none have made it very far. Currently, bus drivers are prohibited from using their mobile phones while operating their vehicles under state law. Apart from that, some assert that Florida’s laws do not go near far enough when it comes to keeping people safe from distracted drivers.
There is no law banning the use of cell phones while driving for making or receiving phone calls, even among newly licensed drivers. There is a law that attempts to ban texting while driving but it is a secondary law, not a primary law. This means drivers cannot be pulled over for the act of texting alone but may only be cited if pulled over for another reason first and the texting behavior is noted. Even if cited, the fine is minimal and there are no points added to a driver’s record.
Clearly the state of Florida has a long way to go in keeping its citizens safe from a known danger. When people are injured in distracted driving accidents, reaching out to an attorney may be the way to get the help that is needed.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, “Brand: Distracted driving must be top of Legislature’s agenda,” Mike Brand, March 14, 2017