I have written here before about the terrible case of a tractor-trailer that crashed into a school bus in Ocala, killing a one middle school girl and injuring another. Because the trucker happened to be using a cell phone immediately before the crash, the incident helped raise awareness of distracted driving — an issue important to me as a Lauderhill auto accident lawyer. Now, the Ocala Star-Banner reported Jan. 13, the mother of the girl who was killed is helping start a new, MADD-like group intended to fight distracted driving. Elissa Schee of Ocala is one of five board members of FocusDriven, all of whom lost loved ones to distracted drivers. The board met Jan. 12 with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Frances “Margay” Schee was 13 when her school bus was rear-ended by a commercial trucker. The bus was pushed forward 100 yards and burst into flames, but Margay Schee was the only one killed. The truck driver told police afterward that he was using a cell phone at the time. Elissa Schee told that story when she appeared on an episode of Oprah broadcast Jan. 18 to promote FocusDriven. The group’s first priority is to pass legislation in all 50 states outlawing phoning and driving. At the moment, the newspaper said, Florida does not place any restrictions at all on phoning and driving — although the state legislature is expected to take up a ban on texting and driving this year. In fact, no state has banned cell phone use behind the wheel entirely, although six states require headsets for all drivers and 19 ban texting and driving.
As a Coral Springs car wreck attorney, I am glad that Schee and the other FocusDriven members are raising awareness of this issue. Distracted driving has emerged as a major issue in the past six to nine months, in part because of research showing that texting and driving raises your risk of a crash significantly. In one study of truck drivers, researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting raised the crash risk by 23 times. Another recent study found that the crash risk for drivers of ordinary cars, using a simulator, was six times greater. And some research has found that texting impairs driving even more than driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. But until our society sees a concentrated campaign to raise awareness of the dangers, drivers will continue to take those risks for the sake of convenience.
At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, we have more than 25 years of experience helping injured people seek justice through the civil courts. Our Weston car crash lawyers have handed cases of all types of injuries, including catastrophic injuries like paralysis as well as chronic pain and emotional trauma. In many auto accident cases, our clients come to us concerned about seeing justice done after a clearly at-fault driver caused permanent damage to their bodies and lives. But after the initial medical emergency passes, many clients realize that they also have severe financial injuries as well, thanks to very high medical bills and lost income from time they were forced to take off work. In a lawsuit, we can help clients recover damages for all of their financial costs as well as their injuries, pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by an at-fault driver, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn as soon as possible for help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please call our main office in Hollywood at (954) 431-8100 or send us an email through our Web site.