Texting and driving has become such a critical public safety hazard that all but five states impose restrictions on texting while driving. With a new bill proposal, Florida is taking action to raise awareness about texting while driving. The bill would result in a $30 fine for anyone caught texting and driving on a first offense. Doing so again within a five-year period would result in a $60 fine. Texting would still be allowed at red lights and when the vehicle is stopped.
According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in 2010 resulted from using cellphones and driving simultaneously. Texting and driving can lead to catastrophic injuries.
When people receive injuries from auto accidents, they can file personal injury lawsuits that allege that the other parties’ injuries were a result of negligence on the other drivers’ part. Personal injury claims are civil matters rather than criminal ones. Alleged negligent drivers may be exonerated of any criminal charges but still have to pay restitution for personal injury judgments. Criminal convictions for negligent driving help support personal injury lawsuits as well.
The Florida bill proposal would have a substantial effect on people who are in car crashes while texting and driving. Currently, Florida’s legislature does not call for criminal action or deterrence for people involved in crashes while texting and driving. The bill would make it so that people involved in an auto accident while texting and driving would face criminal charges just as people involved in accidents while driving drunk do.
People involved in car accidents that may have been caused by drunk drivers or a reckless drivers may seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Personal injury lawyers may help people prove that the other drivers were negligent.
Source: The Miami Herald, “Make the right call on texting and driving,” Ira Leesfield, March 12, 2013