A new legislative session is bringing with it numerous proposals on how to make Florida a better, safer, more profitable place to live. Among those proposals are laws that would toughen current laws on distracted driving.
There is a consensus that distracted driving poses a real danger to everyone on our roads. As a result, every year the issue of texting and driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving all get new proposals to improve safety. But ever since Florida passed texting and driving legislation in 2013, efforts to strengthen those laws have not made it out of committee. This year, one legislator is proposing ways to toughen the laws by increasing penalties for texting and driving in school zones.
Current Florida Distracted Driving Laws
One of the key criticisms of current texting and driving laws is that it is not a primary offense. Yes, a driver can be cited for texting and driving, but only if he or she is doing something else illegal, like speeding. Efforts to make texting and driving (or otherwise using a cellphone) have failed since 2013. But that is not to say that other steps have not been taken to make the public aware of the danger of manipulating a cellphone while driving down the road.
It would be hard for anyone to watch tv, drive down the road, or listen to the radio without being exposed to some sort of public awareness campaign about the dangers of texting and driving. Even cellphone companies have gotten into the spirit of things by putting out their own information campaigns and asking their users not to text and drive. So it is fair to say that each of us knows that driving while using a cellphone is wrong.
Distracted Driving and Accidents
Despite all of these efforts to prevent texting and driving, it still happens every day. The reasons the efforts to stop it are made is because of the damaging, sometimes deadly results of the accidents. One bad decision to text and drive, or do anything with a cellphone while driving, can lead to an accident that will change everyone involved forever.
Young people are not the only perpetrators here. In fact, many grown adults who really should know better continue to text and drive, and get into accidents. When an accident happens that caused by a negligent driver who was texting and driving, it is clear that he or she will be held liable for the damage caused. But there is also a case to be made for punitive damages when the case involves distracted driving.
Punitive damages are reserved to teach the person at fault a lesson, and to prevent it from happening again by setting an example. Florida law provides for punitive damages, and when someone’s negligence is gross or willful. With all we know today about distracted driving, and how none of us should use cell phones, anyone who continues to do so is at least grossly negligent, and should be punished with punitive damages.
Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving distracted driving, contact us. Distracted driving cases are serious, and require the professionalism and experience that we can provide at The Pittman Firm.See related blog posts: Drunk Driving, Accidents, and Responsibility; Florida Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Combat Texting While Driving.