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Florida lawmaker, accident victims, makes appeal to public

A member of the Florida legislature, who herself lost a twin sister in a fatal car accident, recently made a public appeal to drivers both in Tampa and in the rest of this state. Her request was that Floridians put down their phones when they are driving and instead pay careful attention to the road in front of them. She believes that doing so will save many lives across this state.

For her part, the lawmaker is dissatisfied with the state of Florida's texting and driving laws. Although she is gratified that Florida has a law prohibiting texting and driving, she hopes that her colleagues will join her in making texting and driving a primary offense.

A primary offense is a traffic violation that an officer can initiate a traffic stop for so long as the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a driver has actually run afoul of the law. Right now, texting and driving is a secondary offense in Florida, meaning that an officer can only enforce the statewide ban on this behavior when a driver has already broken a separate traffic law.

Based on the statistics that the legislator cited, lawmakers have every right to be concerned about the ongoing problem with distracted driving in this state. Just three years ago, Florida experienced 45,000 motor vehicle accidents that related in some way to distracted driving. Moreover, in these accidents, 39,000 people suffered injuries that were serious enough to get reported. Additionally, 200 people died in accidents related to distracted driving.

Clearly, more needs to be done to prevent distracted driving on multiple levels. One way to hold distracted drivers accountable that is available now is the option accident victims have to file a personal injury lawsuit against a distracted driver.

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