Florida legislators recently proposed a new law that would ban all drivers aged 18 and younger from using cell phones while behind the wheel. Regular readers of this blog know that Florida lawmakers finally passed a law last spring that bans drivers from sending manual texts while driving, but allows them to read and respond to texts while stopped in traffic. If passed into law, the new bill sponsored by State Rep. Irv Slosberg, D- Boca Raton, would ban cell phone use entirely by drivers 18 and younger.
Florida legislators are scheduled to review at least six bills in the coming year that target distracted driving in general and texting while driving in particular. James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury lawyers are hopeful that Florida will finally pass substantive distracted driving laws, but their optimism is tempered by lawmakers’ repeated failures in recent years to adopt such laws protecting Floridians. Currently, Florida is one of only 15 states that do not have laws that ban drivers from using their cell phones to talk, text and send and receive messages while driving, despite irrefutable evidence that using these devices sharply increases the likelihood of accidents.
Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with our state’s lack of cell phone legislation for drivers. They are also very familiar with Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham’s stance on this issue. He prefers a zero tolerance policy on cell phone use of any kind while driving and encourages state lawmakers to take decisive action on this issue to save lives. Currently, there are no state laws against texting, surfing the internet or making calls on cell phones while driving. Further, Florida does not allow communities to enact legislation against distracted cell phone driving.
Accident investigators found that a recent fatal auto accident on the Florida Turnpike was caused by a driver who was changing the compact disc in her car. Florida Highway Patrol investigators say the recent accident occurred around 2:50 p.m. at Mile Marker 237, south of Kissimmee-St. Cloud and closed two lanes of the Turnpike for several hours. They say the 63-year-old victim was driving her 2000 Chevrolet SUV southbound on the Turnpike when a 2001 Pontiac Firebird driven by a 55-year-old West Palm Beach woman suddenly veered from the left lane into the right and struck the SUV. The impact caused the SUV to roll over onto its roof and skid a short distance. Although she was wearing a seatbelt, the SUV driver died from her injuries at the scene. Two passengers in the SUV were treated for minor injuries. Charges are pending against the driver of the Firebird, who suffered minor injuries in the crash.
Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with the sad story of Heather Hurd. Heather was an Orlando resident who was killed when the driver of a tractor-trailer who was texting on his cell phone while driving slammed into her car and eight others on a Florida highway four years ago. Since then, her parents, Orlando personal injury lawyers and many thousands of concerned Floridians have asked lawmakers to pass tough laws against cell phone use while driving with little success. Heather’s parents, Kim and Russell Hurd, who live in Maryland, have taken a proactive stance against drivers who talk and text while driving.
Allstate Insurance Company recently issued its Best Drivers Report, which gauges the likelihood of auto accidents in a given area and the average number of years between accidents for drivers in that area. Allstate ranked Orlando 149th out of 193 metropolitan areas in their report, with first place being the best and safest place to drive in the country and 193rd place the worst and most dangerous. Our city’s poor ranking in the report will come as no surprise to James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury lawyers. They have a great deal of experience representing people injured in accidents involving automobiles and see the effects of automobile accidents on a regular basis.
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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