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Florida State Representative Moves for Harsher Penalties on Texting and Driving

Florida State Representative Emily Slosberg is working to build support for a new proposed law that would make texting while driving in Florida a primary offense. Florida is one of only four states where texting and driving isn’t a primary offense. According to current law, it is a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement cannot pull a motorists over if seen texting and driving. A citation can only be issued if the reason for the pull over is another offense, such as speeding or failure to stop.

Speaking to a local Orlando newspaper, the Slosberg said that currently police can see a 17-year old looking at Google Maps, texting or Snapchatting and they cannot pull that driver over. “Distracted driving fatalities and distracted driving injuries are increasing,” she said. “This is preventable, our law should be addressing this.” The numbers back her claim up. According to that same newspaper report, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the US. In 2015, traffic fatalities in Florida increased nearly 18%, and close to 30% for teenage drivers.

Emily’s efforts are personal as she is the survivor of a Florida car crash. In 1996 her and her twin sister, then teenagers, were in a car with friends when the vehicle struck a median and crashed into another car heading the other direction. Although Emily survived, suffering a punctured lung and several broken bones, her sister and four other teenagers were killed.

Such a change in the law could have an effect on Florida personal injury law too. Currently, if one is injured as a result of another driver texting while driving, they can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Typically such claims that the other driver was negligent in that they were driving while distracted. However, often times there is no proof that the other driver was in fact texting, making it challenging to prove the required level of negligence. If police can issue citations specifically for texting while driving, proving negligence will be easier – and more Florida automobile accident victims will get the compensation they deserve.

To learn more, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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