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Governor and DHSMV Head Publicly Support Ban on Texting While Driving

As a Dania Beach car accident attorney, I was pleased to see a report from the Miami Herald Nov. 18 that Gov. Charlie Crist has come out in favor of a statewide ban on texting while driving. Crist, who is running for a Florida senatorial seat, also reportedly “politely prodded” Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles head Julie Jones to join him. Crist asked Jones to put the issue on the office’s legislative “wish list” for 2010. Jones told reporters that she sees a shift toward more public support for a ban, after an increasing number of fatal accidents related to texting and driving.

The ban may be a tough sell for the Florida Legislature, which has rejected multiple such bills in the past. However, momentum is growing for a ban on texting and driving, at least among national traffic safety experts. Texting and driving was the subject of a national “distracted driving summit” called by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in late September. Several U.S. senators have also introduced a bill that requires states to ban texting and driving to receive federal highway funding, a tactic that the federal government used successfully to raise the drinking age. Both actions, however, may have been motivated by a study issued over the summer showing that truck drivers who text have a 23 times greater risk of crashing than those who don’t. Texting took drivers’ eyes off the road for up to five seconds — enough time for a semi at highway speeds to travel the length of a football field.

As a Miami Gardens car crash lawyer, I have followed texting and cell phone use issues for some time, which is why I know that research is just the latest of multiple studies. Without exception, all of them find that texting raises the risk of a crash, simply because it takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Other activities behind the wheel are certainly also unsafe, but none have seen the widespread increase in popularity that texting has, especially among inexperienced younger drivers. In fact, fourteen other states and Washington, D.C. already ban the practice, either entirely or by restricting the behavior of drivers under a certain age. Banning texting behind the wheel may or may not be politically popular, but it’s the smarter choice for keeping Floridians safe.

At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, we represent people who were seriously injured or lost a family member to a serious automobile accident in Florida. Our Pompano Beach traffic accident attorneys routinely see people who are left with devastating injuries through someone else’s carelessness behind the wheel, whether it was because of texting, drinking or simple inattention. In many cases, the victims and their families are also thrown into financial uncertainty by their accidents, thanks to high medical bills and weeks or months out of work. We work to help these clients get the money they need from the careless drivers who caused the accident, or their insurance companies, so victims can make ends meet, heal as much as possible and move on.

If you or someone you love was hit by a distracted or otherwise irresponsible driver, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can tell you more about your rights and your legal options. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us through the Internet or call (954) 431-8100 today.

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