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Proposed law seeks to reduce distracted driving car accidents

The dangers of texting and driving are known throughout the nation. This, however, does not stop people from taking part in the practice. Many states have taken steps to pass specific legislation against texting and driving and other distracted driving behaviors. Florida has yet to implement serious laws against texting and driving. That might be changing soon as a State Senate Committee is moving forward with an attempt to change the law and make texting and driving a primary offense instead of maintaining its status as a secondary offense.

Currently, drivers must be committing another violation simultaneous to texting and driving for law enforcement to do something about it. Law enforcement officers often lament their inability to pull over drivers who are using their phones while driving even when they can clearly see and discern what the driver is doing. A greater number of people are being injured or suffering wrongful death in a distracted driving crash in the state. Other states have reduced the number of fatalities with legislation, but Florida has yet to follow suit.

It has long been a goal of AAA to get Florida to take part in tougher legislation against distracted driving. The main problem with the current law is that it specifically says "texting" meaning that it is hard for law enforcement to prove that the driver was texting and not doing something else such as making a call, checking directional apps, or even surfing the web. In addition, drivers are under no obligation to give the officer the phone even if the request is made. There must be consent or a warrant for the officer to check the phone.

It is unusual and problematic that semantics is a stumbling block for law enforcement to keep people on the road safe, but that is the issue with the current law. Although lawmakers are striving to change it, it remains the same, meaning that a distracted driver is a problem that many people will encounter. It can lead to a crash with injuries and fatalities. Since the behavior is so dangerous and prevalent, those who have been involved in an accident should be aware of their rights to be compensated for medical costs, lost wages and the loss of a loved one due to distracted driving car accidents. A legal professional experienced in personal injury litigation can help with a case.

Source: wtsp.com, "Hurdle cleared to make texting and driving in Florida a primary offense," Eric Glasser, Oct. 25, 2017

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