Will Florida finally pass a substantive ban on texting while driving? James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury lawyers certainly hope so. The most recent attempt to enact a texting ban in Florida was filed in the Senate on Nov. 21. If passed, the bill (SB 52) would ban drivers from sending or reading texts, emails and other electronic messages while driving but would not prevent them from reading weather alerts, maps and other navigational tools and safety information.
SB 52 was filed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and would be a “secondary offense,” meaning that a police officer could only issue a ticket for texting while driving if the driver has been stopped for another violation. The most recent attempt by Florida legislators to pass a texting ban is being following closely by people outside the legal and law enforcement communities. Kenisha Murphy is a third-year psychology student at Florida State University who is hopeful that lawmakers will finally pass some type of ban on texting while driving.
“I’ve been in three accidents in Tallahassee this year because of people not paying attention,” Murphy said. “Two-thirds were because of phone distractions.”
If SB 52 is signed into law, violations would be treated as a nonmoving violation, and drivers would face fines up to $30.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk is one of many law enforcement professionals who would like to see Florida join the vast majority of other states in implementing some type of texting ban. Florida is one of only seven states that do not currently have a ban on texting while driving.
“I believe this is the best opportunity to get something going,” he said. “So many lives can be spared if every state enforces this law.”
This is the third time in as many years that Sen. Detert has sponsored a texting ban bill in the Florida legislature. The previous two attempts died in the House despite bipartisan support. Although SB 52 has been passed in the Senate, it still must gain approval in the House. Former House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, blocked the previous proposals in his chamber, saying that passage would infringe on citizens’ personal liberties.
You have to wonder which of the following scenarios represents a greater infringement on personal liberties: a state law that prevents drivers from sending and receiving texts while driving a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds or a negligent driver who causes a rear-end accident that results in serious injuries because he had to respond to a text.
Mr. Cunningham and other Orlando distracted driving attorneys would say that the latter scenario is certainly the greater infringement on personal liberties. If you or a member of your immediate family has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek damages against the at-fault party and his or her insurance company. For more information about the law, your rights and your legal options, call Mr. Cunningham today at 888-FLA-AUTO (888-352-2886) to schedule a free consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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If you or someone you love has been injured in a vehicle accident, call toll-free at 1-888-FLA-Auto (1-888-352-2886).
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