August 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- In recent years, much emphasis has been placed on reducing the number of people injured and killed in distracted driving collisions across the country. To combat the increasing number of distracted drivers, many states have adopted laws prohibiting certain dangerous behaviors. Until recently, Florida had yet to enact any laws banning distracted driving.
Florida has now joined a large number of other states in prohibiting motorists from texting while behind the wheel. The law, referred to as SB 52
, takes effect on October 1, 2013. While it is not as strict as many had hoped, it is a first step in protecting motorists in Florida from drivers engaging in dangerous behaviors.
According to the law, Florida motorists will not be allowed to send or read text messages
while they are driving. In certain situations, however, exceptions are allowed -- for instance, if an individual needs to report a suspicious situation or an emergency. In addition, the law allows drivers to text while they are stopped at a traffic light. Many argue this provision in particular reduces the impact of the law, as it is unlikely that an individual in the midst of sending a text message will stop when the light turns green.
What are the penalties for texting and driving under the new law?
Upon a first offense, motorists will be fined $30 in addition to court costs. If the motorist then commits a second offense during the subsequent five-year period, he or she will be fined $60.
Individuals may also receive points on their license under certain circumstances. For instance, a driver who causes a motor vehicle accident
when violating the texting ban will receive six points toward his or her license. In addition, if someone violates the ban in a school safety zone, two points will be added to his or her driving record.
Despite the new restrictions, some argue the penalties are not severe enough to change motorists' behaviors. Others who are dissatisfied with the bill point to the fact that the law makes texting while driving only a secondary offense. In other words, law enforcement officers will not be able to stop a motorist solely for violating the texting ban. If a police officer stops a motorist for a different traffic violation and suspects the driver was texting as well, he or she may then be issued a citation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver, you should examine your options to recover for the harm caused in the collision. Seeking the counsel of a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.
Article provided by Heintz & Becker
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