Distracted driving remains a problem nationwide, but for drivers in Florida, the issue of distracted driving is an even more serious one. The State of Florida ranks second to Louisiana as the worst state for distracted driving, according to statistics from EverDrive motion-sensing app. Despite this fact, Florida is also one of the most lenient states when it comes to cracking down on distracted driving.
Florida is only one of five states in the nation that does not allow police to pull over a driver for only texting and driving. Texting while driving is considered a secondary offense, meaning Florida law enforcement first must stop a driver for another offense – such as careless driving, if a vehicle was swerving or going too slow while the driver was texting.
A new proposal before the Florida legislature may change all of this in 2019. The proposed legislation will prohibit texting, reading data or talking on a wireless handheld device while behind the wheel. This new measure comes in the form of (SB 76) called the “Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law,” proposed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.
The most recent attempt to pass similar legislation was during the 2018 legislative session. Lawmakers tried to make texting while driving a primary offense that would allow police to pull over drivers who were texting while behind the wheel. The proposed bill did not make it through the Senate after concerns over racial profiling were raised.
According to Florida’s Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department, 50,000 auto accidents occurred in 2016 involving distracted driving. Of these accidents, more than 3,500 resulted in serious injuries and 233 resulted in fatalities. The problem is, these numbers have been rapidly increasing over the years. In fact, according to a study of 3 million crashes by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the number of accidents that were caused by distracted and careless driving went up by 11 percent from 2013 to 2016, which had led lawmakers to push even harder for stricter laws for distracted driving.
However, the law will still allow drivers to communicate on hands-free wireless devices. The key is the phrase “hands-free.” In addition, drivers can use handheld devices for navigation or for purposes of obtaining safety-related information.
It remains to be seen if the new legislation will be passed in 2019, but we can only hope that a change will take effect that will result in less lives lost on Florida roadways as a result of distracted driving.
If you or a loved one has experienced an injury or fatality as the result of an automobile accident with a distracted driver, you need to contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Attorney immediately. Distracted driving can be difficult to prove in court. Our Orlando Car Accident Team is well equipped and armed with years of legal experience helping people file auto insurance claims. We can help you obtain maximum compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. We also offer our clients The More for You Guarantee. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on this page or call us right now at 407-490-1271 for your free consultation. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.