CLEARWATER, FL, January 19, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- The federal government has centralized distracted-driving data
from a variety of sources on its website devoted to preventing this behavior, reporting such findings as:
- Texting while driving increases the risk of having a car accident
by a disturbing 23 times.
- Texting removes a motor-vehicle operator's eyes from the roadway on average for 4.6 seconds, which is enough time to drive a football-field length at 55 mph.
- Driving and "using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent."
Almost all states have legislation outlawing some type of cell phone use while driving, but Florida has not hopped on the bandwagon.
A Florida distracted driving lawsuit
CBS Miami reported in November 2012 about a heartbreaking accident involving texting behind the wheel. One September 2008 evening, a reportedly texting teenage driver was speeding and hit the vehicle of an older couple who was driving home, killing the wife instantly. The family filed a lawsuit and a jury awarded $8.8 million in damages.
The legislative battle
According to the CBS Miami article, legislators have been unable to get bills passed that would ban texting while driving because of the sentiment of opponents who believe it would be an encroachment on personal liberties.
Specifically, the Star-Banner in Ocala quotes the new speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, as citing drivers' "individual rights" as the reason he opposes banning texting while driving.
News reports indicate that a flurry of legislative action by members of both main political parties will raise the issue again in newly proposed bills in the next legislative session, beginning in March 2013.
The Tampa summit
Tampa was the site of the November 2012 Florida Distracted Driving Summit at which U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged Florida legislators to enact a "distracted driving law." Federal grant money is available to states that do just that in 2013.
Safety advocates will watch the 2013 Florida legislative session with keen interest to see whether texting while driving is finally outlawed in the state. In the meantime, even if such behavior is not a driving infraction, it may still be considered negligent or reckless behavior by a jury in a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one is hurt by a distracted driver in a motor vehicle accident, consult an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to understand your legal options for recovering damages.
Press release service and press release distribution provided by http://www.24-7pressrelease.com
# # #