A new effort aims to reduce Florida distracted driving accidents by encouraging motorists to have a “designated texter,” but even more lives could be saved if Florida’s lawmakers would simply outlaw texting while driving, according to Florida auto accident attorney Philip DeBerard, III.
Modeled on the successful “designated driver” campaign against drunk driving, a new public service advertisement push called “Stop Texts, Stop Wrecks” is asking motorists — particularly young ones — to designate a passenger to do the texting so the driver can focus on the road.
“Distracted driving is a leading cause of serious car crashes. Any effort to reduce dangerous practices such as texting while driving is welcome, including legislation,” said DeBerard, founder of the South Florida personal injury law firm, Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney.
The firm recently launched an anti-distracted driving Facebook campaign called “Hang Up and Drive!” with hopes of promoting safe driving practices and rallying support for anti-texting efforts.
Florida is one of only eight states in the country that has no ban on texting while driving. A number of anti-distracted driving measures have failed in Florida’s legislature in recent years, and at least four bills aimed at reducing distracted driving accidents have been filed in advance of the upcoming legislative session.
A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to have an accident than a motorist who is focused on the road, according to a study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Disturbingly, 82 percent of drivers between ages 16 and 24 told an Ad Council survey that they had read a text message behind the wheel.
More than three-quarters of those young drivers said they feel confident that they can safely text while driving. The statistics show otherwise. National figures show that 448,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2009, and more than 5,400 died.
In addition to having a designated texter, the “Stop Texts, Stop Wrecks” campaign also suggests that drivers stash their cell phones where they can’t reach them or turn off notifications to avoid the temptation to text behind the wheel.
“One of the saddest aspects of deaths associated with texting while driving is that in many cases the deaths were preventable,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a press release announcing the “Stop Texts, Stop Wrecks” campaign.
DeBerard, the Florida auto accident lawyer, underscored the attorney general’s remarks.
“Sadly, I often see the tragic effects of texting while driving and other types of reckless driving in my personal injury law practice. Many innocent lives are changed or ended by this negligent and unnecessary practice.”
In light of numerous studies that have repeatedly shown that texting while driving is as lethal as drunk driving, DeBerard called on Florida lawmakers to join the overwhelming majority of states and pass a ban on texting while driving.
DeBerard stressed that texting behind the wheel can still be used as evidence of negligence in a South Florida auto accident lawsuit, even though the practice is not yet specifically outlawed. He urged anyone who has been injured by a distracted driver to talk to an experienced Treasure Coast car crash attorney such as the ones at Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, to ensure a full and fair compensation for their losses.
“Our Florida auto accident attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to fully and independently investigate a wreck to determine whether texting or other distractions were involved,” he 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, Palm Beach, and across the state of Florida. For more information, call (800) 299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.