The state of Florida has rarely been quick to follow the rest of the country when it comes to safety laws and regulations, so it should come as little surprise that it took until 2013 for lawmakers in the sunshine state to finally outlaw texting while driving. However, the law they enacted has been called weak and largely ineffective, and the statistics that show rising numbers of both accidents and fatalities as a result of distracted drivers seem to back these claims up.
An Overview of Florida’s Texting Ban
Florida has outlawed the use of cell phones for texting while behind the wheel, much like 40 other states did before it. However, Florida’s ban is ineffective because it can’t really be enforced. The law makes texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means driver can’t be for texting without having a valid primary reason for being pulled over first (i.e. speeding, expired registration, etc.).
As a result, drivers have continued to text while behind the wheel, knowing that so long as they aren’t doing anything else wrong then they won’t get a ticket. According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, only 19 texting while driving citations were given in all of Volusia County in the year 2015. Flagler County issued only three.
New Laws Gaining Momentum
It should come as no surprise then that some new bills have begun to gain momentum in the state legislature. Rep. Emily Slosberg, has filed two bills which would help enforce this law more stringently. The first would make texting and driving a primary offense and double the fine for it in a school zone. Her other bill simply makes texting and driving a primary offense for drivers 18 and under. Another bill, introduced by Rep. Keith Perry, seeks to amend the language of the code to make all texting and driving a primary offense.
Nonetheless the number of accidents that could be prevented every year by a more stringent enforcement of texting while driving makes an update to this law a welcome addition to Florida’s vehicle code.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Attorney Lauri J. Goldstein and her esteemed team of legal professionals at Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates take great pride in standing up for the rights of those who have been injured, and work tirelessly to get them the compensation they deserve.
Review your legal options today! Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates at 866-675-4427 and schedule an initial consultation.