Florida roads are getting more congested and the incidents of car accidents involving deaths or major injury is a daily occurrence.
The urgent need to improve roadway safety for vehicle operators, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road user’s is the reason that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law that allows law enforcement officers to pull over drivers who are texting and driving. The law went into effect July 1. DeSantis has stated in 2016 that Florida had 50,000 accidents caused by distracted drivers which had resulted in 233 deaths. The intent of this legislature is to reduce these statistics.
With this law, a person cannot drive while manually typing into any wireless communications device, this includes any handheld that receives or transmits text or character-based messages, or connects to the internet, or any communications service that allows text communications.
Situations that the texting ban does not apply to may be:
- The vehicle is stationary
- Law enforcement or fire professional
- Emergency medical services
- Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities
- Receiving messages that are: a) Related to the operation or navigation of the vehicle, b) Safety related information, including emergency traffic or weather alerts, c) radio broadcasts.
- Using a device for navigation purposes
- Wireless communication that does not need manual entry of letters, numbers or symbols.
- Operating an autonomous vehicle with the automated driving system engaged.
A Law enforcement officer who stops a motor vehicle for a violation of texting while driving must tell the driver of his or her right to decline a search of their wireless communication device.
- The officer may not: Access the wireless communication device without a warrant
- Confiscate the wireless communication device while waiting an issue of a warrant to access that device
- Get consent from the driver to search their wireless communication device by coercion or other improper method.
- Only in the event of a crash resulting in death or injury may the users phone records be admissible as evidence in proceedings to determine if a violation of texting while driving was committed.
The primary offense of texting and driving will cost you fines, and court fines beginning at around $30. Additionally, if you are texting and driving in a school or work zone, there will be enhanced penalties for that infraction. These types of violations result in three points being added to a person’s driver license in addition to fines and court fees. This new bill on texting and driving also requires law enforcement officers to collect data on offenders and to report on statewide and county totals to Governor DeSantis, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in February 2020.
The perspectives on texting while driving is well documented. An AAA research for example, shows people who do text and drive are 8 times more likely to be involved in a crash. The Florida Department of Highway safety and Motor vehicles reported the number of traffic fatalities in Florida has topped 3,000 each year since 2016. Some of these deaths are due to distracted driving. Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA, said “When driving without seat belts became a primary violation, more people began wearing seat belts. We are hoping as a result of this law, fewer drivers will text and drive.”
If you or someone you care about are the victim of a texting while driving accident there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Of course, you should get the appropriate medical treatment first.
It is strongly advisable to follow through on several steps after the accident especially,
- Get a copy of the police report
- Contact witnesses at the accident – you need to prove the accident was as a result of distracted driving by texting. An eyewitness can give their testimony.
- Get as many photographs and video as possible at the accident scene.
- Collect evidence for your claim. 1)Medical records: Medical bills and treatment records will link the accident to your injuries.2) Lost wages: Due to your recovery period .3) Cell phone records: An Attorney can subpoena copies of the at-fault driver’s cell phone records. The cell phone records can be evidencing the driver was texting at the time of the collision.
Once you have made the decision to consult with an Attorney about your accident case you can be confident that our Attorneys at Bauer Law Group can represent you.
If you have suffered severe injuries that require a long recovery with expensive medical care our lawyers will help you get fair compensation. At Bauer Law Group, we offer an individualized approach to your personal injury case. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of the laws and can handle the most complex of cases. We have superior negotiation, mediation ad litigation expertise. The essential skills required to help you get the best outcome of a financial reward for your injuries. We welcome the chance to connect with you and discuss your injury
Please call us at , in the Gainesville or Tallahassee area.