May 30, 2017

Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law Lacks Grit

With Gov. Rick Scott’s signature, Florida recently became the 41st state to impose some sort of ban on texting while driving, but now that a bill’s finally passed everyone isn’t exactly jumping and cheering.

Texting while driving makes the risk of a crash or near crash event for heavy vehicles or trucks 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving, studies from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found. Further, researchers found that it takes the drivers eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a six-second interval, which equates to a driver traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the road.

Outweighing the research, there are countless stories of teenagers and families who’ve been harmed in accidents related to texting while driving. We  know the danger of texting while driving, so after years of false starts to bills in Florida to ban texting and driving the pressure was on to act. However, critics say this new law is too weak for teenagers, or anyone for that matter, to take it seriously.

That’s because the Senate Bill 52 would not allow anyone to be cited for just texting while driving. It can only be enforced as a secondary violation and a first offense may only cost someone a $30 fine.

Kirk Bryson called the new law “a joke” in his June 24 editorial in the SunSentinel newspaper.

“A broken tail light warrants a stop, but texting does not? These legislators need to be removed from office and replaced by people with common sense,” Bryson said in the article.

“If texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, which is what study after study has proven, what was Gov. Rick Scott thinking, signing this useless bill into law? There is no way this spineless law is going to stop texting while driving and everybody knows it.  Texting while driving needs to be treated like DWI and carry a similar penalty, not a $30 fine.”

While it may still be difficult to stop drivers from texting, there are also other state laws against reckless and aggressive and careless driving that may be violated if a driver is distracted by texting while driving. If you or someone you know has been injured or tragically killed due to someone who failed to follow the common sense rules of the road then please contact us to find out more about your legal rights.

 

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