As of October 1, 2013 it became illegal to text while driving in the State of Florida. Florida’s new texting ban is in effect with a $30 fine for a first offense and $60 for a repeat offender. While the aim of the law is to prevent serious traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers, many wonder if the new law is tough enough. The concern stems mainly from the fact that the law makes texting while driving only a secondary offense. What this means is that a police officer who spots a driver texting while travelling down I-95 cannot pull the driver over and ticket them for the offense. A texting ticket can only come when the driver is also pulled over for another offense like speeding or running a red light. The law also does not ban texting while stopped in traffic or at a red light.
The danger posed by distracted drivers is serious, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimating that there were about 85 fatal traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers between 2010 and 2011.
The potential impact of a texting while driving ban on litigation of car accident cases
The fact is texting while driving distracts drivers' attention from the road and puts the drivers, their passengers and other motorists at risk. This was clear even before texting while driving became a traffic offense. In determining liability in a car accident it is usually necessary to look at the totality of circumstances, including the actions of the drivers involved. The effect of an action becoming illegal is that it creates evidence of negligent or reckless driving regardless of the other circumstances involved in the accident. In car accident litigation this can be a powerful tool that can be used by a skilled personal injury attorney in a variety of ways, including:
- In negotiation with the bodily injury insurer of the offending vehicle
- In establishing the liability of the other vehicle at trial
- In cross examination of the other driver at a deposition or at the time of trial
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident because the other driver was texting, an experienced Florida car accident attorney can investigate the facts to show that the accident was caused by the reckless actions of the other driver to help you recover the compensation you deserve.