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October 15, 2012

Elissa Schee is motivated to convince Florida legislators to finally pass a ban on cell phone use while driving. Her daughter Margay was killed four years ago when a tractor-trailer collided with the rear of a school bus, killing her and injuring 15 other students. According the Florida Highway Patrol accident investigation, the bus had stopped on U.S. 301 near Citra on Sept. 23, 2008, to drop off students when the truck plowed into the rear. Troopers say the truck did not brake before the collision, and their investigation confirmed that the truck driver had been using his cell phone immediately before the accident.

The truck driver told troopers that he had been using his phone just prior to the accident and had “put the phone in the cup holder and looked up” when he drove into the back of the bus. He received reckless driving and vehicular homicide convictions and was sentenced to three years in prison. This is one of many incidents of cell phone auto accidents that have received a great deal of publicity in recent years, yet Florida lawmakers still have not signed a ban into law. Many bills that would ban cell phone use by drivers have been introduced, but none of them have made it through committees to a vote.

Schee says the time has come for lawmakers to step up and make Florida roadways safer. She has lobbied representatives in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., to take action and has appeared on Oprah and other national television programs in an attempt to “keep anyone from walking in my shoes for even a minute.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 3,092 people were killed in cell phone auto accidents in the U.S. in 2010, and another 416,000 were injured. Schee says that the scope of the distracted driving problem in America can only be addressed through tough laws and steep fines for drivers who insist on using cell phones while driving.

“We need consequences and enforcement. My daughter’s life is worth more than a $30 secondary offense,” she said. “We already have the solution to cell phone-free driving: the off button. These cell phone-related accidents are 100 percent preventable.”

Orlando distracted driving accident attorney James O. Cunningham could not agree more. He is distressed that our state is one of only six in the country to not have a cell phone driving ban on the books, and lawmakers’ slow response to the problem is negatively impacting the lives of thousands of Floridians every year. More than a dozen different bills banning cell phone use by drivers have been introduced since 2008, but none of them have been made into law. Mr. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury lawyers join Ms. Schee in urging lawmakers to finally pass a ban on cell phone use while driving and make Florida roadways safer for everyone. If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident and you would like to speak with an attorney, call 800-425-2004 today 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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