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Texting and Driving: Outlawed in Florida

Distracted driving has become a major issue in recent years as new technologies emerge. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reports that 11 percent of fatal crashes involving a driver under the age of 20 result from distracted driving.

Texting while driving has become an especially dangerous habit for many drivers. According to the NHTSA, it takes a driver 4.5 seconds to send or receive a text message. At a speed of 55 miles per hour, a driver would cover 100 yards of roadway during this time. Across the United States, legislatures and law enforcement officials are addressing the problem of texting while driving, which has caused  many serious injuries nationwide and in Florida as well.

As of Oct. 1, manual texting while driving became illegal in Florida. Florida was the 41st state to adopt a texting ban, although the ban is not complete. Drivers are still allowed to text using voice controls, while stopped or while sitting at a traffic light.

Texting while driving is a secondary offense in Florida. This means that police cannot pull a driver over only for texting and driving. If a driver who has committed another driving infraction has also been texting, police can ticket the driver for that offense. Because drivers are under no obligation to turn cellphones over to police officers, law enforcement officials predict it will be difficult to prove that a driver has been texting. This can affect proof in criminal and civil cases against drivers. In cases of serious accidents, however, law enforcement officials say that they would subpoena cellphone records to determine if cellphone use contributed to the accident.

Texting and other forms of distracted driving can, and do, seriously injure many people. If a distracted driver has injured you, you are entitled to compensation. An experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorney can give you the guidance you need to recover the compensation you deserve.