Distracted driving is a growing concern throughout the United States. However, according to a recent study, distracted driving is of great concern in Florida. According to the study, which ranked all 50 states in order of priority for having the most distracted drivers, Florida was ranked as the second worst state for distracted driving. Beating only Louisiana, the statistics of distracted driving accidents in Florida seem to support the study’s finding concerning the number of distracted drivers on Florida’s roadways. According to Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2016, there were just under 50,000 that occurred due to distracted driving. Of these accidents, 3,500 resulted in serious injury while 233 of them resulted in death to at least one person involved in the crash. In 2017, statistics of distracted driving reported from the same department rose. Specifically, 50,190 distracted driving accidents occurred in Florida in 2017. While statistics of distracted driving accidents continuing to rise, Florida’s government has been working on ways to decrease the numbers of distracted driving accidents each year.
Florida’s Current Traffic Laws Concerning Distracted Driving
One of the biggest distractions by far for drivers is the use of cell phones and other handheld electronic devices with communication capabilities while behind the wheel. Noting this fact, it may be surprising to know that, currently, Florida law still permits drivers of non-commercial vehicles to make calls on handheld electronic communications devices while driving. In fact, Florida is only one of five states – the other states include Iowa, South Dakota, Ohio, and Nebraska – that has not made it illegal for drivers of non-commercial vehicles to use handheld devices to make calls while driving. However, Florida law does currently prohibit drivers of commercial vehicles from using these devices while driving. For a first violation, commercial drivers may be fined up to $500 and their companies can be subject to a separate fine of $2,750. For subsequent offenses, commercial drivers may be fined up to $2,750 and be subject to a license suspension of 120 days and their parent companies may be fined up to $11,000.
However, texting while driving is considered a secondary offense in Florida. This means that, if a police officer sees you texting while driving, they may not pull you over and issue you a traffic citation for that act alone. Rather, they must observe you committing another traffic violation as well.
Florida’s Recent Pushes to Impose Harsher Penalties on Drivers’ Cell Phone Use
Last year, a bill was introduced in the Florida legislature, which would have made texting while driving a primary offense and it would have increased certain penalties related to use of handheld electronic devices while driving. While the bill passed in the House, it did not get approval from the Senate amid concerns of the possibility of the law increasing racial profiling.
However, recently, another bill has been introduced in the Florida legislature, which would make it illegal to text, read data, or make calls on handheld electronic devices while driving. This bill, called the “Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law,” is filed for consideration in 2019 and, if it passes, will make use of handheld devices while driving a primary offense.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured because of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Venice, Naples, Pompano Beach, and throughout Florida. Call (954) 525-2345 (South Florida) or (855) 347-5475 (Toll Free) or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Naples, Venice, Port St. Lucie, Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, and Plantation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.