Cell Phone Use and Texting and Driving Present An Unacceptable Risk of Injury
Texting and driving accidents have become all too common. These accidents have a tendency to be very severe because drivers are operating their phones are oblivious to critical markings or controls on the roadway. A driver who is texting and driving will crash into objects or other cars with little to no reduction in speed or evasive action.
These collisions frequently occur at intersections, head on, or rear end at full speed. The part that makes them so dangerous is that a texting driver does not simply get into a tight spot on the roadway and make a mistake that they thereafter try to avoid but cannot avoid an impact. Instead, a driver who is texting is completely unaware of the danger that they are creating.
Texting and Driving is Illegal in Florida
Florida has made texting and driving illegal (civil traffic infraction), however, catching someone in the act and proving it can be difficult. When a crash happens, you should look to see what the other driver is doing right away (if you can) and should ask witnesses if they saw the other driver typing on a phone. If you or other people witness the other driver overly concerned about their phone, it is a sign that they were at least using the phone and driving if not texting and driving.
If you suspect texting a driving, you likely will not know whether you can prove that they were texting and driving until you get into litigation where your attorney can subpoena their phone records from their provider. Some providers only store the actual text messages for a few days while others store the actual messages, even if deleted from a phone, for six months or longer. If the evidence is obtainable, it is critical that you hire an attorney with experience in seeking this information out as well as to know what evidence will be obtainable in the first place.
Florida’s Ban On Texting And Driving
The law in Florida against texting and driving can be found in section 316.305, Fla. Stat. (wireless communication devices-prohibition). When you read the law below, you should notice that the texting and driving ban requires interpersonal communication. This means that operating the map or GPS is not prohibited. Playing music or going through menus to find songs is not illegal. Also, the car must be in motion at the time that the “interpersonal communication” takes place in order to be regarded as a violation.
Florida updated it’s texting and driving ban to include texting and driving as a primary offense starting July 1, 2019.
Distracted Driving Statistics In Florida Are Staggering
In 2015, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reported 45,700 car accidents (or 12% of all Florida crashed) are due to distracted driving. This resulted in over 39,000 injuries and over 200 deaths.
Texting And Driving Is Different In A Commercial Vehicle Or Semi-Truck
Texting and driving while driving in a commercial vehicle is subject to additional requirements and can result in disqualification of a truck driver for a CDL. This information can be found in Florida’s CDL Driver Handbook.
Commercial truck drivers are prohibited from texting while operating in interstate commerce pursuant to 49 CFR Part 383, 384, 390, 391, 392, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Further, the same applies to intrastate commerce as Florida has adopted the FMCSR for intrastate trips. (see section 316.302, Fla. Stat.).
Further, any trucking company or commercial carrier with a federal motor carrier license is required to forbid commercial truck drivers from texting while driving. The FMCSR defines “texting” differently than Florida law. “Texting” under the FMCSR is defined as:
manually entering text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This includes, but is not limited to, short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a World Wide Web page, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry, for present or future communication
Contact Us Now for Legal Help
If you or a loved one has been injured by a texting driver, please contact a Lakeland texting and driving attorney for help with your case. Knowing where to look and having the right information can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. You may even need to take the deposition of the offending driver before you get the information that you need.
A consultation with a Lakeland texting and driving attorney with Russo Law is free.
Read Our Blog for More Information
For recent legal topics, please see our personal injury blog. We accept clients located in Polk County, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, and Haines City, Florida with cases against a driver who caused an accident by texting and driving.