In an effort to make roads and highways safer for all drivers, many states across the country have enacted cell phone bans prohibiting the use of handheld devices for talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle. Policymakers pushed for these laws based on the generally accepted theory that cell phone use and text messaging result in inattentive driving and contribute to the high number of car accidents in the United States. Florida, however, has no restrictions on motorist cell phone use, despite dozens of bills presented to the state legislature since 2002. As reported by the Palm Beach Post, advocates for a ban are hopeful that this will finally change in 2013.
In 2012, attempts to have a texting ban heard were blocked by Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, but Cannon left the House in November due to term limits. Supporters of a ban say his departure “may help clear the way for Florida to become the nation’s 40th state to prohibit all drivers from texting.” Representative Irv Slosberg from Boca Raton told the Post that “the public has been screaming for it.”
According to a 2010 National Safety Council study, nearly 30% of traffic accidents occur because people talk on cell phones or send text messages while driving. And it seems that people are aware of the dangers associated with cell phone use and texting while driving—a survey conducted by AAA Auto Club South found that 87% of motorists support laws prohibiting texting while driving. At the same time, nearly 70% of Americans acknowledge talking on their cell phones while driving within the past 30 days, and 24% say they have sent texts or emails. This means that bans on cell phone use and texting may continue to be a tough sell in Florida, where many legislators are concerned that such restrictions are unwanted government intrusions on private behavior. If Florida follows the nationwide trend, however, concerns about public safety may win out over individual rights this year.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a driver whom you believe was talking or texting on a cell phone, please contact Fetterman & Associates. During a free initial consultation, you can speak with a knowledgeable Florida injury attorney about your specific case. With offices in Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, we serve clients throughout southeast Florida.
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