Fort Lauderdale distracted driving lawyers warn Broward County drivers that using handheld mobile communication devices to send text messages, email, or instant messaging while the vehicle is in motion is illegal in Florida. The use of handheld devices on the road is also causing an upturn of incapacitating injuries and deaths, so much so that Florida has established a Put it Down public awareness campaign.
If an injury or death happens, the “texting ban” law allows authorities to use billing for wireless devices as well as the written or spoken testimony of authorities as admissible evidence in legal proceedings. Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney right away to begin your case for compensation.
Frequency of Distracted Driving
In 2016, Broward County experienced 4,175 crashes involving distracted driving, resulting in 104 incapacitating injuries, and nine deaths, the Florida Department of Transportation reported. Nationwide, during 2015, distracted motorists caused 15 percent of all wrecks with injuries and 10 percent that resulted in deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of all crashes reported to police, 14 percent involved distracted driving. The federal agency also reports that drivers between the ages of 20 and 29 are the biggest offenders.
Driving while distracted is almost as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, and distracted driving is not just using mobile communication devices. Other forms of distraction include drinking or eating, applying makeup, reading, fiddling with radio or other controls, and looking away from the road.
A Florida driver who kills someone in a crash while texting will face a criminal charge, prison, and civil action, possibly for gross negligence if wanton disregard for others is shown.
Exceptions to Florida’s Texting Ban
Sometimes it is necessary to use a mobile communications device while driving, and these situations are exceptions from the state’s texting ban. Exceptions are reporting suspicious or criminal acts or emergencies to law enforcement, using automotive navigation systems, receiving safety information such as weather warnings or traffic conditions, and radio broadcasting.
Talking on a mobile communications device without using hands is legal in Florida.
Negligence Law in Florida
Fort Lauderdale distracted driving lawyers will explore whether an act was negligent, which means doing something that unreasonably puts someone else in harm’s way or is responsible for the property of someone else being damaged.
People who are injured and families who have lost a loved one because of distracted driving have a right to sue for damages using Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine. This law demands that anyone who bears some fault in a situation cannot recover all of the damages. The damages are reduced by the percentage of fault, and the amount of fault is determined by a jury.
A person who is 30 percent at fault may only claim 70 percent of the damages. A person who was texting at the time of a collision likely will have some responsibility for the accident.
Talk to a Fort Lauderdale Distracted Driving Attorney
Becoming the victim in an injury accident can stretch or break finances, but that does not mean the victim cannot have an attorney. Fort Lauderdale distracted driving lawyers can assess a case during a consultation. Contact us today to begin your case.