December 17, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- One of the most popular methods of communication today is texting. While originally embraced by teens and young professionals in West Palm Beach, now it is common to see parents, grandparents and just about everyone else tapping on their cell phone.
According to distraction.gov, people in the U.S. sent over 171 billion texts by December 2012. This number includes people in Guam, Puerto Rico and all U.S. territories. However, while texting
is extremely popular, it is also considered the most dangerous form of distraction for drivers today. Texting encourages people to take their eyes off of the road, their hands off of the wheel and their mind off of driving, significantly raising the risk of a car accident.
Limits on new texting law
This year, Florida lawmakers passed a new law that addresses texting while driving. According to the law, which just went into effect, drivers are no longer allowed to send texts while their vehicle is in motion, the Orlando Sentinel reports. However, the law comes with several compromises including:
- A driver has to be committing another traffic violation to get a texting ticket.
- Fine for first violation is only $30.
- Second violation comes with a $60 fine.
- Drivers do not have to comply with an officer's request to look at their phone.
- Texting evidence can only be used when a motor vehicle accident
occurs and someone is injured or has died as a result.
- Officers can record a driver texting with their car's camera.
A recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that texting was suspected in 340 accidents that occurred during a 21 month period from 2011 to 2012. Boxes for suspected texting as a possible accident cause were added to law enforcement reports in 2011.
Better than no law at all
The weakness of the new law makes it unlikely that many drivers will receive a texting ticket. Still, according to The Palm Beach Post, it is considered a start and some are optimistic that the new law will lead to further legislation that will make texting while driving illegal. It has taken state lawmakers over 10 years to pass any legislation that limits the use of cell phones by drivers and it is likely that it will take several more years for tougher laws to pass the legislature.
While law enforcement believes that the new law will act as a deterrent for texting while driving, it may prove difficult to enforce the law. Other states have experienced difficulty in prosecuting people for texting behind the wheel and the burden of proof will undoubtedly lie on authorities' shoulders. Despite the difficulties, victims of distracted drivers have a new option to take advantage of in holding those drivers financially responsible. People injured in a car accident should talk with an experienced attorney to understand their options in seeking appropriate compensation.
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