Proposed bans on texting while driving have been unsuccessful in Florida over the past five years, but officials in Key Biscayne are trying to change that.
According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, Key Biscayne vice mayor Michael Kelly and village attorney Stephen Helfman are looking for ways to implement a texting ban in the village despite the fact that Florida lawmakers have repeatedly blocked any legislation that would regulate cell phone or text messaging statewide. Eighteen proposed bills died in the legislature in 2010 alone.
South Florida personal injury attorney Philip DeBerard, III applauds the Key Biscayne effort.
“Implementing bans on cell phone use and texting while driving at the local level can save lives,” said DeBerard, a Stuart personal injury attorney who regularly represents clients in lawsuits involving vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving. “Every year, more people across Florida and the Treasure Coast lose their lives in accidents that could have been prevented if motorists made better choices with their cell phones.”
In 2010, distracted driving caused seven of 1,784 deaths in Florida, according to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Nationwide, 5,474 people died and 448,000 were injured in auto collisions caused by distracted driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
“It’s disappointing that Florida is not following the same example set by 37 other states who have already passed bans on texting while driving,” said DeBerard. “The numbers clearly show that our country has a significant problem when it comes to distracted driving and the dangers such irresponsible behavior poses to those on our nation’s roadways.”
The Florida reckless driving accident attorney said that the state should have been a forerunner in the effort to regulate cell phone use while driving, particularly because Florida reigns as one of the premier vacation destinations in the U.S.
“Tourists come to Florida looking for a great experience, and it would be worthwhile to see that laws are in place to protect them from other motorists’ reckless choices,” he said.
Key Biscayne may struggle to pass a ban on text messaging behind the wheel because many argue that municipalities should defer to the state, which needs to have a uniform traffic code, according to the Herald article.
“Even if it fails, the fact that the village is being proactive should prove to Florida legislators that this is a topic of serious concern to the public at large,” said DeBerard.
Florida personal injury law allows victims of serious car accidents to pursue compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills, rehabilitation, and other expenses incurred as a result of their crashes.
“Personal injury laws are a good legal remedy when harm is caused, but wouldn’t it be better to pass laws that prevent harm instead?” DeBerard asked. “A texting-while-driving ban is exactly the type of preventive measure that could hopefully keep motorists from ever having to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim.”
At least four new distracted driving bills have been filed for the 2012 legislative session, which begins Jan. 12.
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, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and wrongful death claims. The firm represents clients throughout the South Florida communities of Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and across the state of Florida. For more information, call (800) 299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.