After a long and difficult legislative fight, Florida finally passed a texting ban. The ban is found in Florida Code Section 316.305 and it applies to motorists in West Palm Beach, Wellington, City Park, and throughout the state of Florida.
The ban makes texting a secondary offense in Florida, which a personal injury lawyer knows is not as effective as making it a primary offense.
Texting Bans and Motorist Safety
All 50 states in the U.S. now have some restrictions on texting, if not outright prohibitions, and the vast majority have made texting a primary offense. Because texting is a secondary offense in Florida, police may pull over a motorist and issue a citation for texting only if the motorist is violating a primary enforcement law at the same time.
Getting a texting ban at all in Florida was a hard-fought victory, despite evidence showing that prohibiting texting generally makes motorists safer. In fact, a new study was reported on by CBS that took a close look at the effect that some texting bans were having.
The researchers in the CBS-reported study reviewed information from states that had passed strict prohibitions on texting between 2003 and 2010. The researchers discovered that within these states, there was a seven percent overall decline in the rate of people who sustained injuries in a motor vehicle crash that were significant enough to require hospitalization.
Surprisingly, it was not young people who benefited the most from this reduction in post-crash hospitalization rates when texting bans went into effect. Among drivers who were 22 and under, there was not a statistically significant decline in hospitalization rates even once texting was officially illegal. Among drivers aged 22 and older, however, there was a nine percent reduction in the rate of hospitalization.
Drivers frequently believe young teens who have newly acquired their licenses are the most likely to get into motor vehicle accidents due to texting. However, this is not necessarily the case. This study suggests that slightly older drivers may be more likely to become involved in texting accidents when a law doesn't expressly prohibit texting. An official with the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) also said that the biggest offenders when it comes to texting and driving is actually people aged 25 and 40.
Texting and driving is something that no motorist should do, regardless of his or her age. Drivers need to be aware that texting is not legal or safe. It is true that the laws in Florida may not prove to be that much of a deterrent to people who are texting and driving due to the difficulty of enforcing them and the relatively low fines. However, there is a bigger deterrent to texting and driving than facing court action: the very real risk that you will cause a motor vehicle crash while texting and end up taking someone's life or causing permanent lifetime injury. Don't take a chance on your safety and the safety of others just because you want to send or read a text.
If you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident, visit http://www.davidglatthornlaw.com or contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights. Serving Palm Beach County including Wellington, City Park and all of South Florida.