As of October 1st, 2013, Florida has joined the majority of states in prohibiting texting while driving. In South Florida, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 52, legislation championed by Senator Nancy Detert for the past several years. In 2011, at least 23% of auto collisions involved cell phone use. Over a million crashes a year related to texting and other cell phone use distracts drivers from the road and finally sparked legislation to ban this growing cause of accidents.
The new law bans manual texting for individuals while driving, but allows it for those stopped in traffic or at traffic lights. Drivers must be stopped for a separate traffic violation before being ticketed, but there are hopes that this will deter drivers from the ever-growing distraction of texting.
A 2012 survey done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that two thirds of drivers admitted reading either a text or email while driving. Over 4,500 accidents in Florida were attributed to drivers being distracted by their cell phone or other electronic communication devices over the past year.
Some have doubts as to whether the new ban will actually yield results by reducing the number of crashes. With the continuous flow of new technology drivers are more and more tempted by all the possibilities at their fingertips, even behind the wheel.
There are other alternatives for drivers in need of communication while on the go such as speakerphone, headsets and car phones. If you do find yourself needing to read or send a text wait until stopped at a light or just wait until you have reached your destination safely.
We encourage text free driving and hope the new legislation in effect will reduce the number of accidents. If you or a loved one are injured as a result of a distracted driver please call us today!
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando car accident attorneys