Over a year ago, Florida passed a law that banned texting and driving in the state. While the legislation was meant to stop distracted driving in Miami and other cities, has the law had the intended effect?
Critics claim that the law is not robust enough, since drivers have to be pulled over for another violation in order to be charged with texting and driving. This means that even if officers see motorists texting and driving, they cannot pull the drivers over unless they are doing something else wrong. Stronger bills that would ban texting and driving more firmly and would give police more powers to pull drivers over just for texting repeatedly failed to get passed into law.
New Law Does Not Result in Many Citations
So far, the texting law has only resulted in just over 2000 citations. Part of the problem is that while police often see drivers texting and driving, in many cases they cannot do much about it. Police and other safety experts say that Florida should make texting and driving a primary offense. They note that someone who is looking at their mobile device for five seconds is driving the equivalent of a football field without looking at the road. That is plenty of time to cause a serious car or pedestrian accident.
Barriers to Stricter Texting Ban
Part of the problem is that Florida legislators are reluctant to impose laws that restrict personal freedoms. In addition, many legislators themselves rely heavily on mobile devices. With so many voters and lawmakers using mobile devices, it becomes harder to restrict their use, even when it’s for everyone’s safety.
Another part of the problem is that some legislators question whether a texting ban is sufficient. Awareness about distracted driving has changed, and many experts note that mobile devices are not the only causes of distraction on the road. Passengers, eating, adjusting the dashboard, watching the scenery, and even daydreaming can all be distracting enough to cause a collision. Yet, it is impractical to legislate against all these causes of distraction. Some legislators question whether targeting texting when there are so many causes of distraction is practical or effective.
What to Do if a Texting Driver Injures You
Have you been injured by a distracted driver who was texting or using a mobile device while driving in Miami? Even if texting and driving is a secondary offense in Florida, there are things that can be done in a case like this. Phone records can be secured from the phone carrier to prove that the driver was acting negligently. The driver can also be pursued for reckless or dangerous driving in some cases. You may have a civil claim and seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost time at work, hospital bills, medical expenses, car repairs, and other damages.
If you would like to know more, contact the law offices of Flaxman Law Group. Our law firm works with investigators, engineers, and other experts to pursue all liable parties in personal injury and traffic accident cases. If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, our legal team can review your situation and help you understand your rights under Florida law. Your first consultation with us comes with no commitment and costs you nothing, so contact us today if you need legal advice.