VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Is it time for Florida to change its texting while driving laws?

It used to be that you would never know what you might see when stealing a glance at the drivers with whom you're sharing the roads and highways. Perhaps you'd see someone eating their breakfast, applying makeup or even reading the newspaper. 

Fast forward to the present, however, and there's a very good chance that you already know exactly what you will see when observing your fellow motorists: their eyes be looking downward at a smartphone.

If you don't believe it, consider that a recent customer survey by State Farm Insurance found the following:

  • 36 percent of respondents reported texting while driving
  • 29 percent of respondents reported surfing the Internet
  • 21 percent of respondents reported accessing social media accounts
  • 19 percent of respondents reported using their phone cameras while driving

Interestingly, when asked what would make customers abandon this dangerous behavior -- particularly texting -- State Farm received the following responses:

  • 48 percent of respondents reported they would stop texting while driving if it resulted in a car accident
  • 42 percent of respondents reported they would stop texting while driving if there were very serious legal and/or financial consequences.
  • 36 percent of respondents reported they would stop texting while driving if they were caught by law enforcement officials

It's worth noting that Florida Legislature is poised to consider a bill during the 2016 session that would make texting while driving a primary offense as opposed to just a secondary offense.

What this means is that police officers would be able to ticket people solely for texting while driving as opposed to only being able to issue them a citation for this conduct if pulled over for some other traffic offense (i.e., speeding, running a stop sign, etc.).

In light of the responses above and the fact that the Sunshine State is only one of three states to still classify texting while driving as a secondary offense, it may be time for lawmakers to consider taking the necessary actions.

What are your thoughts?

If you have been seriously injured by a distracted driver, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and your options.   

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