A state lawmaker from another part of Florida, who lost her twin sister in a car accident, recently pledged to fight hard for a tougher prohibition on texting and driving.
While it is already illegal for motorists in this state to text and drive, Florida is one of a handful of states that make texting and driving what is called a secondary offense. This means that an officer can only write a ticket for texting and driving if the driver also commits another traffic offense.
If the legislator has her way, she and her colleagues will make texting and driving a primary offense. If they succeed, an officer in Florida will be able to stop a motorist if the officer has evidence that the driver was texting and driving, even if the driver was somehow managing to drive the vehicle correctly.
In the interim, the legislator pleaded with the public to resist the temptation to pick up their phones and instead pay careful attention to the road in front of them.
The statistics which the legislator cited in her plea suggest that distracted driving is a significant problem in Florida. In the 45,000 distracted driving accidents in this state in 2015, 39,000 people had injuries that got reported. Sadly, 200 people died in accidents related to distracted driving.
People in the Tampa area who have been victims of car accidents should recognize that they have legal options if their injuries were caused by a distracted driver. One such option would involve filing a lawsuit alleging negligence on the part of the distracted driver and asking the court to adjudge that the driver should pay for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages and non-economic damages.