Recently, a crash involving an overturned semi-truck blocked traffic on the I-75 highway for several hours, and might have been caused by a texting driver whose car wandered into the path of the semi-truck. According to the driver of the truck, he was driving south in the outermost lane of the highway when a nearby car began to move into his lane from the lane next to him. The semi-truck driver swerved onto the freeway shoulder to avoid crashing into the car, but the truck jackknifed and he lost control. The truck flipped onto its passenger side and hit the guardrail. Luckily, the truck driver was not injured. In the moments before the crash, the truck driver saw the driver of the car who caused the accident either talking on his cell phone or texting. The driver escaped the accident unharmed.
Studies have shown that texting while driving is extraordinarily dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that over 1,150 people are injured and nine people die in the U.S. every day in crashes involving a distracted driver. This places texting while driving on par with drunk driving in terms of its impact on road safety.
Florida Law Prohibits Texting While Driving
Current Florida law banning texting while driving has been in place since 2013, but advocates across the state are arguing that the law does not go far enough to protect other drivers and pedestrians. Under the law, if an accident occurs that result in death or injury, phone records can be used as evidence to determine whether the driver who caused the accident had just received or sent a text message when the accident occurred.
However, as it stands, texting while driving is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction, which will be punished as a nonmoving violation, with a ticket. A subsequent offense is still considered noncriminal, but it would be punished more harshly, as a moving violation with a larger ticket and points assessed to the driver’s license license. However, law enforcement officers are powerless to stop a driver who is texting, unless they violate another law first. This secondary enforcement has been largely ineffective, and many Floridians are calling for texting while driving to be re-classified as a criminal offense, immediately subject to law enforcement action. Advocates point to the need for stronger enforcement mechanisms, pointing out that decades ago, no one wore seatbelts. Even though they were known to save lives, it was only after police were given the ability to pull drivers over who were seen without seatbelts that drivers’ behavior began to change.
If you or one of your loved ones has been the victim of a car accident, and you suspect that the driver who caused it may have been texting, you should discuss your case with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. The Tallahassee and Southern Georgia personal injury attorneys at Fasig & Brooks can explain your legal options for recovering for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and psychological trauma. We will fight to obtain the financial compensation that you are entitled to. Contact us now at (850) 222-3232 or through our online contact form for a free consultation on your case.