Florida has once again taken a small step towards a texting while driving ban, as Florida’s Budget Committee unanimously approved Bill 416, which makes texting while driving a secondary offense. This is the third time a bill including the ban has been proposed to the Senate, and the House bill HB 299 sits idly in committee. According to the Huffington Post, 71 percent of all Florida voters support a ban on texting while driving. Despite this voter support, Florida is one of 15 states that continue to resist instituting at least partial bans on texting or other cell phone use while driving.
Senate Bill 416 would make texting while driving a secondary offense, which means that a law enforcement officer could only issue a driver a ticket if the driver is already pulled over for another offense. The first offense results in a $30 fine, the second offense within five years results in a $60 fine and three points on the driver’s license. If texting while driving leads to a crash, six points would be added to the perpetrator’s driver’s license. The bill is supported by multiple organizations, including AAA and the Florida Sheriffs Association.
Many have claimed that Florida’s repeated failures to pass a texting ban can be attributed to the vehement opposition by large telecom companies which do not want to see a decrease in the profitable texting industry. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has pushed hard for a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving. In 2009, 867 fatal crashes were reported to have involved cell phones as a means for driver distraction. In a Thursday report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Florida had a 6 percent increase in teen deaths due to distracted driving over a six-month test period in 2011.
Although many states have taken steps to reduce texting while driving, it still claims many innocent lives and causes serious injuries around Florida and the United States. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident where texting may have been involved, you may be eligible to receive compensation.
Consult an experienced auto accident attorney to see if you might be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, attorney’s fees, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.