The video above is another in the “Faces of Distracted Driving” series from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Distraction.gov website. It features the mother of a 13-year-old Citra, Florida girl who was killed when a semi truck slammed into the back of a school bus that the teenager was riding in. The truck driver was talking on his cell phone at the time and never saw the bus.
This video is relevant right now for a couple reasons. First, April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and on April 10, 2012, the Bradenton Herald reported that a 25-year-old driver rear-ended a Manatee school bus, totaling his Ford Mustang. None of the 11 students on board were injured, but the Herald noted that this is the fifth rear-ending of a Manatee school bus to occur since January. Don Ross, the district’s director of transportation and maintenance, added that there was no evidence of brake marks in any of those bus accidents.
“I’m not saying I know what’s been happening,” Ross told the Herald. “But when somebody says they didn’t see a school bus, with all of the mandated signs and lighting, there’s got to be something else going on.”
We have frequently discussed distracted driving and wrote about school bus safety a couple of weeks ago. While there is still no specific law banning texting while driving in Florida, that does not mean local police will not be pulling over distracted drivers. In fact, using this Manatee bus accident as an example, the Mustang driver was charged not only with failure to exhibit a driver’s license, but careless driving as well. During this month dedicated to awareness about and prevention of distracted driving, officers throughout the Sunshine State should be issuing more tickets for careless driving to make it clear that distracted driving is unacceptable.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers