Police officers from Montgomery County are using a new tactic to crack down on texting and driving. It is being reported that one police officer dressed up like a homeless person, took a radio, and looked for drivers using their cellphones. The police officer would then radio in the information to one of his colleagues who pulled over and cited the driver.
The attempt to quell the problem of texting and driving was very successful. Reports reveal that the police using the homeless disguise to catch texters handed out 56 citations and 22 warnings. One of the drivers cited admitted that texting and driving is really dangerous, so hopefully the police’s efforts result in safer conditions on the roads.
Dangers of Texting and Driving
The issue of texting and driving has taken the country by storm in recent years. Since the introduction of cellular phones, questions about using them safely while driving have been of utmost concern. When using a phone’s text messaging ability and web browsing features became more popular than talking on the phone, it was clear that phones became a major distraction when used while driving.
In 2011, it is reported that 23% of car accidents involved cell phones in one way or another. That is a total of 1.3 million crashes that caused property damage, physical injuries, and even death. Texting and driving is definitely an avoidable distraction in the car, but the temptation is always there, and unfortunately it produces catastrophic results.
Florida Laws on Texting and Driving
Florida, like most states, has laws that prohibit texting and driving. Florida Statutes 316.305 is titled the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law,” and it prohibits most types of cellphone use while driving. Critics of the law say that it is not strong enough. For example, while it is illegal to text and drive in Florida, it is not a primary offense. That means that the police can only pull someone over and cite him or her for texting if the driver is breaking some other law first.
In addition to Florida’s traffic laws banning texting and driving, there are civil laws meant to ensure that people drive safely. Under Florida’s body of common law, every person driving on the road has a duty to the public to drive his or her vehicle reasonably safely. If any driver chooses not to drive reasonably and chooses instead to do something like text and drive, he or she runs the risk of getting in an accident. If that happens, and the irresponsible driver causes an injury to another, than that driver is going to be liable for those injuries and damages.
At The Pittman Firm we go after negligent drivers who cause injuries by allowing themselves to be distracted while driving. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us.