According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 800,000 automobiles being operated by someone utilizing a hand-held cell phone or PDA at any moment during the day. It’s no wonder why 23 states, Guam and D.C. have passed anti-text messaging laws banning texting while driving. www.ghsa.org.
You may ask where Florida stands on this very hot issue? Even though the federal government has been urging states to ban texting while driving, Florida has yet to pass such legislation.
Recently, the Florida Senate voted 34-4 in favor of Senate Bill 448, which, according to the bill, would prohibit drivers from “manually entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device” or from “sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication, including but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing and instant messaging.” S.B. 448, 2010 Leg., (FL. 2010). The bill contains a number of exceptions to the ban. There is no ban for authorized emergency vehicle personnel or to report illegal activity, summons medical or other emergency assistance or to prevent injury to person or property.
The bill has effectively been allowed to die in the Florida House of Representatives. The bill met opposition in the House by members who disagree with banning specific activities when driving, such as text messaging. See the Orlando Sentinel report of April 27, 2010. The chairman of the committee the bill is stuck in, Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, says, in essence, that there are many other activities that occur while people drive that are distracting, such as applying makeup while driving and eating while driving but they are not illegal so why should texting be singled out. Representative Bogdanoff has effectively allowed the bill to die in her committee.
Although it may be true that there are other distracting behaviors which drivers perform while driving that are not illegal at this time, we do not understand why the lack of a ban on other distractions should be a reason to not ban texting while driving. It goes with that saying that two wrongs don’t make a right. Texting while driving is simply dangerous. According to the Official US Government website for distracted driving, the University of Utah performed a study which showed that a driver who is utilizing a cell phone has a reaction time as delayed as a driver who has a blood alcohol level of .08%. See Distracted Driving. Of course, a blood alcohol level of .08% in Florida means you are legally under the influence of alcohol. With statistics like these, and with federal government supporting an anti-texting ban, it is surprising that Florida has yet to follow suit and enact a texting while driving ban along with the other 23 states that have already passed such legislation.
If you believe that texting should be banned while driving, call or send you local representative an e-mail. If you know who your representative is, use this page to locate his or her contact information. E-mail address can be found in the lower portion of the blue side panel. If you do not know who your representative is, use this page to find out who represents you in the Florida legislature.
If you have been the victim of an automobile accident caused by a person who was texting while driving, or who was just careless in general, please feel free to contact our automobile accident personal injury attorneys by calling our toll free phone number or by filling out our Web Form. All evaluations are completely free of charge and without obligation. Thank you for visitng our web site.