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Will Florida Ban Texting While Driving to Reduce the Number of Miami Car Accidents?

Florida remains one of the few states that has not passed laws that ban texting while driving. There is a strong push to get this type of law passed, but despite the number of people injured and even killed by texting drivers, bill that are introduced to ban distracted driving do not pass into law. Last year, a move was made by Florida legislators to pass a texting ban for motorists, but that proposed legislation failed to pass into law.

While some people argue that banning texting and driving would help reduce the number of Miami traffic collisions, others argue that texting bans would harm individual rights by inviting too much government control into people’s lives. According to Jim Harper of the Cato Institute, texting bans make little sense because Florida laws already ban reckless driving and any driver who causes a Miami car accident due to texting and driving can be charged under those laws. Harper also notes that any new technology causes some accidents but does not require legislation. Speaking with reporters, he mentioned that cup holders caused some accidents when they were first introduced into cars, but no laws banned them.

There is a Senate bill (SB 416) in Florida that would ban texting and driving. So far, that bill has had two votes cast against it but it has passed through three committees. It still needs to be voted on by the full chamber. A House bill (HB 299) banning texting and driving has not moved forward. Some argue that the bills do not go far enough. If the bills become law, they would result in only a $30 initial fine. Any motorist caught texting and driving twice within five years would face an additional $60 fine. Drivers who cause an accident while texting would lose driver points under the proposed legislation. If the bills became law, police would only be able to charge drivers for texting if they pulled the driver over for another violation first.

According to some experts, texting bans might also not make much of an impact on Miami car accident rates anyway. There were 171 538 reported Florida car accidents between January and October of 2011, and under one percent of drivers were known to be texting while driving at the time of the accident, according to Florida highway safety authorities. Some experts have suggested that texting bans could actually increase Miami pedestrian accidents and car accidents, since drivers who want to text and drive would attempt to hide their devices in their laps when driving, taking their eyes off the road more.

Advocates of texting bans point to numerous studies suggesting that texting and driving is as dangerous as Miami drunk driving. They cite government research and studies by the AAA as well as numerous universities, all of which suggest that drivers who text and drive are many times more likely to be in a car accident when compared with undistracted drivers.

Whether you agree with a texting ban or not, if you have been injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, you do have rights under Florida law. Even though Florida does not have a texting ban, if you are injured in a Miami car accident by a driver who was texting while driving, you can hold that driver liable for reckless and dangerous driving. You may have a case that helps you recover money for any medical costs, lost income, and other costs related to your car accident. To find out more, contact the Flaxman Law Group to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Your initial consultation costs nothing and comes with no obligation.