Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 52 on May 28, 2014, which bans the use of driving while using wireless communication devices. The bill does not refer to phoning another person on a wireless communication device, but rather instant messaging, emailing, and text messaging. The excessive amount of typing when communicating in these ways is seen as more prohibitive to safe driving than simply dialing a phone call, which requires fewer characters and keystrokes.
The governor cites his own personal concerns for his children and grandchildren while driving and operating wireless devices as part of his motivation for signing the bill into law. The timing was also intentional as the 100 days leading up to Labor Day from Memorial Day have resulted in the most teenage fatalities.
Dangers of Texting & Driving
The roads are much more dangerous with texting and driving. Hands-free and handheld devices both pose threats. Although hands-free devices are being touted for their increased safety, this is not necessarily true. Mobile devices are now manufactured into cars by both Apple and Google. They claim that keeping eyes on the road due to hands-free operation prevents accidents, but data collected from Bluetooth studies indicate otherwise. It is not so much the physical action of typing, which is targeted by SB 52, but rather the cognitive act of engaging in a conversation that causes increased accidents.
Critics of the Law
Some criticize the new law as being too lenient, given the dangers posed by texting and driving. Drivers are allowed too much freedom, and thereby the law does not go far enough, some say. The evidence for this point of criticism is the lack of penalty for using wireless communication devices while not moving, including traffic jams, stop lights, and when a vehicle is in park. Also, the punishment when breaking this law is seen as lenient. Texting while driving is a secondary offense in Florida, which requires you to commit another offense and be stopped for it before you can be ticketed for texting. The first offense costs $30.00 and the second costs $60.00. In fact, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2007-2010 study indicated that complete bans of texting resulted in the best reductions in related automobile accidents.
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Supporters of the Law
Lawmakers, police officers, medical professionals, and countless parents and guardians throughout the state of Florida stand behind SB 52. In fact, most Floridians support the ban, according to consistent results from polls. Establishing the law has taken five years, failing each time due a lack of Republican support from the House. However, Will Weatherford, the House Speaker, finally supported the measure and it passed. $1 million was spent on a marketing campaign to explain to the public the ban on texting and driving with the slogan, “texting and driving … it can wait”.
Contact an Aventura Car Accident Lawyer Now
Texting and driving causes too many accidents, resulting in property damage, injury, and, unfortunately, fatalities in the state of Florida every year. If you have been the victim of an accident, whether or not it is related to texting and driving, please call The Law Offices of Cohn & Smith now at 954-740-8331.