Research has shown that strong texting and driving laws have been effective at cutting down on nationwide distracted driving. Researchers have found that texting and driving bans have helped prevent serious traffic accidents, while also finding that car-crash hospitalizations declined in states that instituted relatively strict texting and driving bans.
Despite this, Florida continues to resist strengthening their relatively weak texting and driving laws. In fact, some describe Florida’s texting and driving laws, which are among the weakest in the country, as “toothless”. Due to these weak laws, there is little police can do to stop the epidemic as of now.
Current Status of Florida’s Texting and Driving Laws
Florida treats texting while driving as a secondary offense. The practical ramifications of this distinction is that Florida police officers cannot pull a Florida driver over for texting while driving unless the driver is doing something else that is illegal or dangerous. On top of treating texting as a secondary offense, other phone-based behaviors are entirely legal, such as taking pictures or using the phone’s GPS navigation system.
Perhaps making matters worse, if a driver is ticketed for the secondary offense of texting and driving, the texting ticket is a mere $20, and zero points accrue on the driver’s license. Florida lawmakers such as House Speaker Richard Corcoran are reluctant to make changes, however.
Corcoran says these issues require a balancing act “of civil liberties and safety on the roads”, while also arguing that studies from states with tougher laws show conflicting results. In the interim, distracted driving will continue to plague Florida roads, a state that suffered from 45,000 distracted driving crashes and 214 distracted driving deaths in 2015. In practical terms, Florida averaged more than 123 distracted driving crashes per day that year. Due to the weak and largely non-existent distracted driving laws in the state, it is unlikely the situation stands to improve.
If you or a loved one is one of the thousands of victims who have been harmed by distracted driving, talk to Destin auto accident lawyer John F. Greene. John will help you assess whether a distracted driver was at fault and whether you have a strong claim to receive legal compensation.
From his office in Destin, John represents distracted driving victims, helping victims recover the compensation needed to heal while also holding distracted drivers accountable. John represents Destin accident victims as well as injured parties throughout Northwest Florida and the Emerald Coast, including Santa Rosa, Walton, Bay and Okaloosa Counties. John also represents the victims of distracted driving in the communities of Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City and Santa Rosa Beach.
If you need a Florida auto accident lawyer who provides victims with the representation needed to hold distracted drivers accountable and receive legal compensation for the harms suffered, contact Destin defense attorney John F. Greene or call 850-424-6833.