Florida is one of a handful of states that does not have a specific “cell phone law” to ban or limit the use of mobile devices while driving. Further, Florida’s preemption law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans. However, Port St. Lucie’s City Council has decided to let the state know that it is time to enact a law to improve the safety of Florida roadways.
The City Council unanimously voted on a resolution this week to support a statewide ban on texting while driving. Mayor JoAnn Faiella hopes to pass this on to the other Treasure Coast jurisdictions that will then join together in bringing the resolution to the next legislative session.
In a news interview with TCPalm, a Florida Treasure Coast and Palm Beach news outlet, Faiella said, “We’re hoping that we all stick together, have petition signs and take it up to the Legislature … Hopefully they’ll hear us.”
The statistics are clear that distracted driving, of which texting is one of the primary offenses, results in serious accidents and deaths in Florida, and across the country.
According to Florida’s 2010 crash statistics, careless driving (the equivalent to distracted driving) was the leading cause of accidents in the state. Over 47,500 careless driving accidents resulted in injuries, and 332 resulted in a fatality.
Florida legislators have attempted to pass a statewide texting ban. However, the politicians cannot agree on the legislation and the latest proposal failed.
The NSC or National Safety Council reports that distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury vehicle accidents. The group also found that every 26 seconds an accident occurs as the result of texting or cell phone use. In addition, the NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2009, roughly 500,000 injuries and almost 5,500 fatalities resulted from crashes that involved a distracted driver.
Port St. Lucie Police Chief Brian Reuther said that with a statewide cell phone law drivers could be cited if they are observed to be texting and driving on city roads, according to the news article. Currently, texting drivers can be held liable for not keeping a proper lookout and other motor vehicle violations if they are found to be the cause of a car accident.
Our Treasure Coast car accident attorneys commend Port St. Lucie’s City Council for pushing legislation to make our Florida highways safer. Until a law is enacted, we continue to encourage all drivers to put down their cell phones will driving.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida car accident due to the negligence or carelessness of another driver, seek experienced counsel. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have three decades of legal experience representing people injured in car accidents and other personal injury claims.
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