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Florida Text Messaging Law in Focus for 2013 Legislative Session

Under new legislation that was filed in the Senate last week, drivers would be prohibited from manually typing or reading text messages, emails or any other kind of electronic message.

According to FOX4, Senate Bill 52 was filed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice. It’s asking for these dangerous and distracting driving behaviors to become secondary offenses in the state. This means that a law enforcement officer would be able to pull over and cite a driver for texting only if a driver is stopped for some other traffic violation. This means that an officer would have to observe you speeding or breaking another road law first.
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With this proposal, drivers would still be allowed to use GPS systems and other navigational devices. Weather alerts and other safety-related information would also be fine under the law — as would hands-free applications.

Our Cape Coral accident attorneys understand that parts of this proposal may be difficult for officers to enforce. It would be tough to tell whether a driver was checking the weather or traffic report rather than text messaging or emailing. The truth of the matter is that distractions of any kind are dangerous and severely increase risks for car accidents. According to recent studies, your risks for a car accident are nearly 25 times higher when text messaging at the wheel.

If this law were to pass, drivers in the state of Florida could find themselves with a non-moving violation and a fine of $30 if busted.

Lawmakers won’t be in full session until March, but bills are able to be filed now and committee meetings on proposed legislation will kick off on December 3rd. Detert’s bill was one of the first measures in the Senate to emerge from bill drafting for the coming year.

Recently, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) strongly suggested that the state of Florida and others across the country ban cell phone use for all drivers. Florida continues to be one of the only states, one of the five to be exact, that has yet to enact any kind of law on drivers and text messaging.

According to the NTSB, there were about 4,000 accident fatalities that resulted from distracted driving. As a matter of fact, about 25 percent of drivers admit to this dangerous behavior. It’s so bad that this distracted driving habit made it on the NTSB’s “most wanted” list for changes to be made among transportation departments across the country.

This isn’t Deter’s first rodeo either. She has sponsored this proposal the past two years and still has not succeeded in pushing it through the law-making process.

Drivers are asked to be safe out there and to keep safety as a number one priority. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. No text message should be worth a human life.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Florida Law Enforcement Targets Unsafe Drivers, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 15, 2012

Fort Myers Traffic Accidents in Focus for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 14, 2012