Most Floridians are aware that a texting and driving ban has been in effect since 2013. Texting while driving is a secondary traffic offense, meaning that a police officer may not stop a car solely for texting; the driver must commit a primary driving offense – like speeding – and, if he or she was also texting, face an additional fine.
This law comes as a relief to those who have already been affected by texting and driving. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured each day due to distracted driving. As sad and disconcerting as that is, considering how many people actually engage in distracted driving, that statistic is hardly surprising. During any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving. That’s a lot of folks who don’t have their mind on the road.
Texting while driving is so dangerous because it involves three different types of distraction – visual, manual, and cognitive. Dialing, texting, or reaching for a phone – visual-manual actions with a phone or other electronic device – increases the risk of getting into an accident by three times. The average amount of time one’s eyes are off the road while texting and driving is five seconds. That may not seem like a long time, but when you’re traveling at 55 mph, five seconds actually is enough time to cover the length of an entire football field.
No other family understands how precious seconds are when it comes to distracted driving like Heather Hurd’s family. Heather Hurd was a young woman who was killed in Polk County due to a semi truck driver texting and driving. The truck driver was so distracted that he never even saw a line of nine cars stopped at a traffic light. He rear-ended the car Heather was driving, and she was killed instantly.
To honor her memory, Heather’s parents began a campaign to ban texting and driving. They were successful both in Maryland, their home state, and in Florida. In Maryland, texting while driving is a primary offense.
If you have been injured as a result of another’s negligence due to distracted driving, call the skilled attorneys at Brooks Law Group to discuss your case. If the unthinkable has happened and your loved one has been killed as a result of distracted driving, you may have a wrongful death action. Read below to determine if your relationship with the deceased allows you to file a wrongful death action.
To determine what types of damages are recoverable in a wrongful death action, read here.
Sources: The Centers for Disease Control, www.distraction.gov, the Official U.S. Government website for distracted driving, Fla. Stat. sec. 315.305, ABC Action News
Check out the video below for more on how Florida is attempting to deal with this complex and dangerous issue: