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Two Separate Distracted Driving Bills Move Forward in Florida Legislature

Distracted driving remains an issue across the country, but it seems to be an even bigger problem in Florida. The State of Florida ranks second, only behind Louisiana, for distracted driving crashes. Not only are more people driving while distracted, but Florida is one of the most lenient states when it comes to cracking down on distracted driving.

However, new legislation may change all that. Florida lawmakers heard two important bills this week aimed at ending distracted driving, Senate Bill 76  and House Bill 107, both making cell phone use a primary offense behind the wheel.

According to Florida’s Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, an estimated 50,000 distracted driving-related car accidents occurred in 2016. The fact is these numbers are only getting worse every year. At least 233 Floridians were killed by distracted drivers in 2018, according to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

House Bill 107 is a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Representatives Jackie Toledo and Emily Slosberg and makes texting and driving a primary offense. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means law enforcement must first have another reason to pull the driver over. The driver can be ticketed for texting and driving, but only if the officer witnesses the driver violate another law first.

Senate Bill 76 is sponsored by Senator Wilton Simpson and restricts drivers’ abilities to use their phones at all while behind the wheel. Sen. Simpson’s bill requires drivers use only hands-free devices while behind the wheel.

Florida lawmakers have attempted to enact similar legislation in the past with no success. In 2018, a House Bill was introduced which would have strengthened Florida’s distracted driving law. The bill was approved by the House but did not pass the Senate. One of the reasons for this was the fact that the Senate did not have a companion bill to go along with the House legislation. Lawmakers hope the fact that both chambers have a similar proposal will bring forth the change that is so desperately needed to protect Florida drivers.

The Senate version was set for debate on Wednesday, but the reading was postponed unexpectedly. Supporters of enforcing distracted driving laws hope that the two chambers can work together on a mutually-agreeable resolution to push forward legislation that can save lives and prevent distracted driving-related crashes.

Texting while driving increases the chance of an auto accident by 23 times, even if it is an accident caused by another driver. While cell phone use is one of the main types of distracted driving, essentially any activity that causes you to take your eyes off the road for a second is considered distracted driving and can lead to an auto accident.

Get the Help You Need After an Orlando Auto Accident with a Distracted Driver.

As a car accident attorney who handles these type cases every day, I advise that you put your cell phone away while driving, as it cuts down your ability to react quickly and appropriately to hazards around you. The consequences can be deadly, distracted driving is 100% preventable.

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.

Related Resources:

https://www.clickorlando.com/getting-results-/driving-change/distracted-driving-bills-take-next-steps-in-florida-legislature

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-ne-house-texting-driving-ban-20190423-story.html

https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/driven-by-distraction-the-push-to-ramp-up-florida-s-distracted-driving-laws/1933952015

 

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