Florida Legislators Considering Texting Ban Again

The dangers of texting while behind the wheel have been well documented, leading most states to adopt texting while driving bans to protect motorists on the road. Florida is now one of only five states in the country without legislation prohibiting this dangerous behavior. Despite repeated attempts in the legislature to pass such a law, Floridians are still legally allowed to send text messages while driving.

Some members of the Florida legislature have taken a renewed look at banning texting while driving this year. According to a Tampa Bay Times/ Miami Herald/ Bay News 9 poll, proposed legislation prohibiting texting while behind the wheel has wide support among Floridians – 71 percent of the voters in Florida agree with the implementation of such a ban.

In the past, bills that would have prohibited such behavior have failed to make it out of committee, or have otherwise been blocked by certain legislators. Those in the legislature who oppose such measures cite government overreach or concerns that other distracting behaviors – like eating while driving – should also be banned to prevent auto accidents.

NON-LEGISLATIVE ACTION TAKEN TO PREVENT FL DISTRACTED DRIVING CRASHES

While the Florida legislature continues to consider laws banning texting while driving, other organizations have taken steps to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

Recently, the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority initiated a campaign to encourage drivers to give their phone to a passenger when on the road. The campaign in Florida is encouraging motorists to take a pledge to agree not to text or talk while driving.

The campaign suggests drivers name a “designated texter,” who is then responsible for responding to any text messages the driver receives while he or she is behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made the same recommendations last year, in its own public awareness campaign, referred to as “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks.”

Distracted driving appears to be an increasing problem across the United States, as the number of people killed in such accidents increased from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, 3,331 people died in distracted driving collisions – up from 3,267 the year prior. In addition, approximately 387,000 people sustained personal injuries in distracted driving accidents in 2011.

Although many types of distractions are hazardous to drivers, much attention has been placed on banning texting while driving. Texting has been found to be a particularly dangerous type of distraction for motorists on the road. According to a Virginia Tech study, texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a distracted driving accident than non-distracted drivers.

When someone is injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, he or she may be entitled to compensation. Consulting with a skilled, Florida personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.