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Broward County City Commissioner Proposes Law Making Texting While Driving Illegal

As a Pembroke Pines car accident lawyer, I watch new traffic accident research and have written numerous times on this blog about the dangers of texting and driving. That’s why I was pleased Aug. 17 when I saw an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about a city commissioner in Parkland, who wants to make texting while driving illegal within the city limits. Commissioner Jared Moskowitz planned to propose a law to the full City Commission on Aug. 19. It was unclear exactly how the law would work, but the article did say that there would be a fine for motorists caught breaking the law.

Moskowitz said his proposal was driven by concerns about safety; he said it’s the most dangerous thing people can do behind the wheel, aside from drinking. He believes texting while driving should be illegal throughout the state, not just in Parkland. That’s a belief shared by Democratic state Senator Ted Deutsch of Boca Raton, who has sponsored similar legislation at the state level for the past two years and expects to take it up again next year. Deutsch praised the efforts, but said Florida still needs a statewide anti-texting law. Moskowitz’s colleagues were cautiously supportive, but raised concerns about the practicality of enforcing such a law. In fact, the article said Parkland city attorney Andy Maurodis is researching whether Florida cities can even make their own traffic laws.

As a Hialeah auto accident attorney, I strongly support Mowkowitz’s (and Deutsch’s) efforts. As the article notes, a recent study I wrote about for this blog found that truck drivers were 23 times more likely to crash when they were text messaging — in large part because their eyes were off the road for an average of about five seconds while they sent and received messages. Other results showing that texting raises the chance of an accident considerably have been found in studies that focus on drivers of passenger cars. And of course, we have far too much empirical data on the dangers of texting and driving, thanks to tragic, avoidable accidents caused by texting and driving. That includes recent train crashes in Boston and Los Angeles as well as trucking accidents in St. Louis and here in Florida, where a truck driver killed a little girl when he rear-ended a school bus while using his cell phone.

At its root, text messaging is harmful because it takes drivers’ eyes off the road during crucial moments, leading to serious accidents that cause death or catastrophic injuries. Under Florida law, people who are injured as a result of another person’s carelessness on the road — including careless texting and driving — have the right to hold that person legally responsible for their injuries and costs. Cohn, Smith & Cohn has more than 25 years of experience helping accident victims exercise that right. In a Fort Lauderdale car wreck lawsuit, we can help injured people claim financial compensation for an injury, disability, disfigurement or wrongful death, as well as compensation for the costs of the crash, including future medical care and income lost from time off work. We work hard to get clients the best possible compensation for their injuries.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a car crash in Florida — caused by texting, alcohol or another bad decision — you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn today to learn more about your rights. To set up a free consultation, please contact us online or call our main office in Hollywood at (954) 431-8100.

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