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Tampa event urges lawmakers to enact distracted driving laws

A roomful of people listened to panelists talk about the dangers of distracted driving at the first Distracted Driving Summit in Tampa this week. One of the panelists was a mother who lost her teenage daughter and unborn grandchild in a distracted driving car accident two years ago. The teenager was crossing a street when a distracted driver on a cell phone hit her; she died from her injuries at the hospital.

The teenager's mother spoke on the panel about how difficult it was to lose her daughter in such a tragic way. This mother along with other family members of distracted driving victims spoke at the event in order to get the attention of Florida's lawmakers. Currently, Florida does not have any distracted driving laws. Most states have laws banning texting while driving; however, Florida is one of the 11 states that do not regulate the practice.

In 2010, over 3,000 people died in distracted driving accidents. This summit aimed to bring these lost lives to the attention of lawmakers and perhaps to drivers as well. Stories like this mother's may convince some drivers to put away their cell phones while driving. However, many drivers will undoubtedly continue to text and drive until, and even after, anti-texting laws are passed.

The stories told by family members who have lost loved ones due to distracted driving demonstrate how serious this issue is. For even one family to have to deal with losing a loved one because of distracted driving is terrible. This summit brings attention to the fact that distracted driving is a widespread issue and a growing problem in the state of Florida.

Perhaps, in several years, fewer Florida families will have reason to debate whether they wish to seek compensation after a loved one's death in a distracted driving accident.

Source: WZVN, "Collier mom speaks at Distracted Driving Summit," Nov. 13, 2012

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