Florida recently enacted a law that prohibits texting while driving. However, in the opinion of many people, the law isn’t strict enough.
Currently, texting while driving is considered a secondary offense. This means that a driver has to do something else — such as run a red light — to be pulled over. State Senator Maria Sachs wants to enhance the law to make texting a primary offense, the Tampa Bay Times reported recently.
Her proposal would keep the fine at $30 for the first violation but would make it easier for police to ticket drivers who are texting while driving.
“Using a cellphone while driving a motor vehicle is more dangerous than drinking alcohol, especially for young drivers,” Sachs said at a news conference about her proposal. “Every single day in 2011, 11 teenagers were killed in motor vehicle accidents because of mobile phones.”
Sachs said that in 2011, texting surpassed alcohol consumption as the main contributor of teen traffic deaths. She also said that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a death than driving under the influence.
Distracted Driving by the Numbers
Citing information from Distraction.gov, the U.S. government website about distracted driving, Sachs that it takes on average 4.6 seconds for a driver to receive or deliver a text. “(If) you are driving 50 miles per hour, you are covering a football field blind.”
- 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2011.
- 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
- 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cellphone in a way that put people in danger.
Sachs compared her proposal to the seatbelt laws imposed in the 1980s. However, she faces an uphill battle to get her measure passed. It took five years for the Florida legislature to approve the current texting while driving ban.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that his office will initially focus on enforcement in school zones. If drivers are caught texting while driving, their phones won’t be confiscated, Israel said, but texting records will be obtained when investigating accidents.
Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
Regardless of the law, distracted driving continues to be a major problem. If you were hurt in an accident caused by someone texting or doing another reckless activity, you could be entitled to money damages.
Your first course of action should be to talk to a lawyer who has experience handling personal injury cases. If you live in the Tampa area, consider discussing your claim with the Florida car accident attorneys at Disparti Law Group, P.A.
Get in touch with the Disparti Law Group, P.A., today at 855-736-7717 or reach us through our online contact form.
The Disparti Law Group, P.A., assists victims of personal injury accidents in Tampa, Holiday, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Land O’Lakes, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and surrounding areas.