Stuart, FL, July 19, 2012 — With National Cell Phone Courtesy Month being observed this July, it’s a good time for South Florida and Treasure Coast residents to consider the courtesy – and common sense – of staying off their cell phones while driving, Florida car accident lawyer Philip DeBerard, III, said today.

“We think courtesy extends to being a safe driver, which means not using a cell phone while driving to talk or send text messages,” DeBerard said. “The courteous and safe thing for a driver to do with a cell phone is to put it away and direct all of their attention to the road.”

In July 2002, etiquette expert and author Jacqueline Whitmore of Palm Beach, Fla. Founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, with the intent to make cell phone users more respectful of their surroundings and to teach them to avoid talking too loudly on cell phones in public or taking calls in inappropriate venues.

Several proposed measures that would limit or restrict cell phone use and texting have died in the state’s legislature in recent years, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill in 2011 that would have required the state Division of Motor Vehicles to educate drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted by electronic devices. Florida law also prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans.

“Although our firm strongly supports enacting laws that would deter and punish electronic distracted driving, we don’t believe the absence of a law provides an excuse for Florida motorists to drive without common sense and regard for the safety of themselves and others,” DeBerard said.

The South Florida personal injury lawyer pointed out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that drivers who use hand-held devices behind the wheel are four times more likely to get into wrecks serious enough to cause personal injury. Texting while driving creates a motor vehicle crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted, the NHTSA says.

“If a driver talking on a cell phone or texting causes an accident, that driver deserves to be held accountable for negligent if not reckless conduct,” DeBerard said.

About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, product liability, dog bite injuries, swimming pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.

The firm represents clients throughout the South Florida communities of Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Okeechobee, Vero Beach and Palm Beach, and across the state of Florida. The firm’s office is located at 215 SW Federal Hwy. #300, Stuart, FL 34994 (local phone (772) 286-1000). For more information, call 1-800-299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.