In several weeks, Florida's new ban on texting-while-driving will go into effect. The legislation is aimed at reducing the number of accidents brought about by this form of distracted driving. According to the CDC, every year hundreds of thousands of people get injured as a result of distracted driving, and thousands get killed. Because texting-while-driving contributes so strongly to distraction on the road, it's already been banned in most states.
The distractions of texting-while-driving
When drivers text they frequently look at their mobile devices, rather than focusing on the road. Without knowing it, they speed up. They miss what's going on around them, whether it's a pedestrian crossing the street or another vehicle switching lanes. And once they do catch on that there's a problem, they aren't able to react as quickly as usual.
If their mobile device isn't hands-free, they also usually have only one hand on the wheel, giving them less of a firm handle on their vehicle. And even if it is a hands-free device, they get easily caught up in the texting, especially if it's an exchange that requires more mental effort or draws deeply on their emotions.
The result of this kind of distracted driving includes death, along with severe injuries that require surgeries, hospital stays, and physical therapy. All it takes is one driver caught up in texting to cause a catastrophe.
Will the state law be effective?
In the coming months, we'll see how effective this new legislation will be. It's often difficult to prove that someone was texting-while-driving; it's easy for guilty drivers to claim otherwise, to hide their mobile devices. Furthermore, Florida's new ban on texting-while-driving isn't that much of a threat for guilty drivers. The fines for a first-time offense are relatively low. Texting-while-driving also isn't the primary reason a driver could get asked to pull over and receive a citation; first they have to be cited for violating another driving regulation, such as speeding, and only then can they get hit with a secondary citation for texting.
So where does this leave the victims of accidents brought about by texting-while-driving? Ideally, they'll have the assistance of an expert injury lawyer who will fight for accountability and for fair compensation from the parties responsible for the accident and the pain and financial stress afterwards. If you've been injured in such an accident, contact us; we'll review the facts and advocate for you to receive justice. It's not clear if the law will reduce the number of texting-while-driving accidents, and in the aftermath, you'll need the best care for yourself and your loved ones.