Florida has approximately 14 million registered vehicles. Traffic was tough enough to negotiate when the car was basically a fortress of solitude. The only distractions (prior to the now ubiquitous mobile phone) that drivers had to navigate through were the errant pedestrian or perhaps the bikini-clad hot dog vendor.
As Miami accident lawyers, we know that distractions have geometrically proliferated since the advent of the Apple iPhone (among many other competitors). Many of the smartphone features operate as lethal attention misdirection. One only has to navigate through the already congested roadways of Florida to see the additional and extremely dangerous distractions that the smartphone has burdened Floridian commuters with.
Before the advent of the mobile phone and then its progeny, the smartphone, during the commute to work you would see women drivers putting on make-up, male drivers shaving at the same stop-lights… but at least their cars were stopped. Smartphones changed the nature, frequency and severity of distraction with predictably lethal and obscene results. Legislation has been passed or contemplated in almost every jurisdiction. Studies reveal that a texting driving is as dangerous as an intoxicated motor vehicle operator. In response to the rapid increase in smartphone distracted motor vehicle accidents Florida, in October, 2013 enacted a limited ban on text messaging while driving. The law poses no limitations on cell phone use, however.
Florida Statute 316.305 states in part:
“A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.”
In other words, drivers in Florida can’t type into a virtual keyboard, or send or read messages. Keep in mind that even if a driver does manually enter information into a wireless device, that will not by itself result in arrest. A driver can only be charged for violation if arrested for another motor vehicle violation. The failure to consider cell-phone distraction an independent source of violation needs to be revisited and should be considered a violation of driving safety and law.
Features that are particularly dangerous are applications such as “Face-Time” and other similar distractive features. The law needs to be changed and treated more seriously … each day people are involved in collisions due to the failure to pay attention to the road. Creative plaintiff’s lawyers are already going after the cell phone purveyors and as in most cases a few large verdicts should get the manufacturer’s and law-makers attention.
Hallandale Beach auto accident attorneys are here to help you. If you have been the victim of an accident, then do not hesitate to reach out to us with your concerns. Our South Florida insurance attorneys are here to help with any questions you may have. We can be reached at 1.888.413.8353.