As the 2012 state legislature session kicks off, state lawmakers will consider a whole host of proposed laws aimed at making the Sunshine State a better place to live. At least one of those laws is starting with Florida's roads.
State lawmakers are set to once again consider a proposal to ban texting while driving, this time amidst increased pressure to outlaw a practice that has been tied to car accidents across the country.
On Tuesday, State Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) introduced Senate Bill 416, which - if passed - would ban texting while driving. A driver caught texting would be assessed up to six points on his or her driver's license. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee late last year.
While similar measures have stalled in previous years, this one appears to be gaining support. In December, the National Transportation Safety Board called for a nationwide ban on all cell phone use while driving. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices while driving," NTSB chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in stumping for the ban. "No call, no text, no update is worth a human life."
A number of state media outlets have joined the call for texting while driving legislation. "In 2009, more than 5,000 deaths and almost half a million injuries were blamed on distracted driving," reads a Dec. 15 Sun-Sentinel editorial. "The problem is obviously getting worse as more and more people of all ages have mobile devices of some kind in their vehicle." The Miami Herald's Fabiola Santiago puts it more bluntly: "You can do whatever you want in your car as long as the exercise of your freedom doesn't put someone else on death lane."
Although Florida is one of 15 states that currently does not prohibit the use of cell phones while driving, a driver who causes an auto accident while using a phone can face both civil liability and criminal prosecution. As we mentioned in a September post, authorities have focused on increasing penalties for persons who cause an accident by texting while driving.
Auto accidents often occur as a result of careless, inattentive or distracted driving, which can be caused by talking on the phone, sending text messages, eating and drinking or changing radio stations. When an accident happens, the vehicle's occupants risk serious injury - broken bones, paralysis and spinal or brain injury - and even death. Florida law requires all automobile insurance policies to carry a minimum amount of "no-fault" insurance for reasonable and necessary medical expenses. The purpose of this statewide requirement is ensure that those injured in car accidents can seek proper medical care, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
The South Florida car accident attorneys at Anidjar & Levine work hard to zealously represent clients throughout the area, including in Hialeah, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton. If you were involved in a car collision, call Anidjar & Levine's Fort Laurderdale office today at (800) 747-3733 or submit an on-line "Contact Us" form for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
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