The woman in the segment of NBC’s “Today” show above is now on her way to state court after being run over by a Volusia County Beach Patrol truck while she was sunbathing on the beach last year. As Matt Lauer says at the beginning of the video, “The beach is one of the last places that you would ever worry about being hit by a car,” but in fact, a 4-year-old was struck and killed in New Smyrna Beach and another 4-year-old was hit and killed in Daytona Beach in 2010.
WJXT-TV reported on April 6, 2012, that Volusia County is now hoping to implement a ban on texting while driving on the beach. The story noted that several beaches along the coast of northeast Florida allow people to drive on them and another man had accidentally run over a 1-year-old girl at Huguenot Park.
While WJXT noted that Jacksonville did not have any plans to implement the same rules, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt told the network that he also agrees with a texting ban for beach drivers. “The Legislature makes the laws, we just enforce them,” Senterfitt told WJXT. “People probably shouldn’t text and drive anywhere. People should drive with their attention to driving. In fact, if somebody’s texting while driving, if their driving’s not good we could stop them for careless driving. We have a statute for that already.”
With April being National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, lawmakers all over Florida should be implementing bans on texting while driving for all locations, not just beaches. The careless driving charge at least allows officers throughout the state some way to ticket distracted drivers, but we must put forth a more comprehensive law to ban distracted driving if we hope to ever reduce the number of otherwise preventable auto accidents caused by inattentive drivers.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys