Since 2019, a law in Florida has allowed law enforcement officers to stop drivers for the offense of texting while driving. The law, which took effect in October 2019, made texting while driving a primary offense in the state and started fines at $30. Yet texting while driving continues to happen in Florida, and serious and deadly collisions continue to result from distracted driving. Indeed, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, approximately 50,000 collisions occurred in 2020 because of distracted driving, resulting in thousands of preventable injuries and almost 300 fatalities. Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers want to discuss distracted driving and to highlight the serious risks of texting while driving.
Texting While Driving Ban is Not Enforced Well, Some Say
If there has been a ban since 2019 on texting while driving in Florida that makes the act a primary offense, why are the rates of distracted driving still so high in the state? In other words, why are so many motorists continuing to send and read text messages while they are on the road, thereby putting other motorists and vehicle occupants at risk? According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, one of the major issues concerns enforcement of the law.
As that article argues, “the new law against texting is rarely enforced,” and “Florida also has failed its requirements under the law to track comprehensively how many drivers are ticketed statewide.” To be sure, commentators cite the “many loopholes” associated with the new law that result in a lack of enforcement and overall lack of data to show that lack of enforcement is an issue. In the most recent report providing data on “Florida’s census of texting violations,” the article indicates that the report has factual errors and omissions. Indeed, the report “is missing tickets entirely from more than 20 of the state’s 67 sheriff’s departments and at least 56 of 155 municipal police departments.” Further, the report erroneously “overcounted texting tickets by hundreds.”
Lack of Enforcement and the Dangers of Distracted Driving
To give some key examples of lack of enforcement, the number of drivers who use cell phones on a regular basis does not add up to the number of tickets issued. In Broward County, only 18 texting-while driving tickets were issued, and only 38 were issued in Palm Beach County. In Alachua County, where more than 50,000 University of Florida students live and drive, no texting-while driving tickets were issued in 2020.
It is important to remember just how dangerous distracted driving can be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 3,000 people were killed across the country in 2019 alone as a result of distracted driving. And texting while driving is often a leading cause of distracted driving collisions.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyers
If you or somebody you love sustained injuries in a distracted driving collision, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. One of our car accident attorneys in West Palm Beach can assist you. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC today to learn more about how we can help.