Tampa, Florida - Florida’s current ban on texting while driving is not tough or effective enough, says Attorney Frank Fernandez, partner of The Fernandez Firm. Fernandez specializes in personal injury law and his firm has offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Orlando. Fernandez calls on the state legislature and Governor Rick Scott to toughen the law to improve the safety of motorists, passengers and pedestrians in the Sunshine State.
Florida’s current law went into effect in October. But unlike most states, the law is only a secondary offense. That means police can only stop and ticket a texting driver if they witness another offense, such as running a stop sign or swerving. Penalties are limited to a $30 fine for first time offending drivers ticketed for texting while driving.
“Studies show that someone texting while driving presents a greater threat to the general public than drunk driving, yet the penalties for DUI are far greater,” Fernandez says, “This is behavior results in thousands of needless deaths and injuries every year and we need to get serious about protecting Florida’s families.”
Fernandez has been representing people injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes and other acts of negligence for almost 20 years. “I help people every day seriously injured and assist family members of those tragically killed in car accidents to get the compensation they deserve. I know the pain and suffering these types of accidents often cause. People are needlessly being injured for life and killed because of the damage distracted drivers are inflicting on our roadways. Florida needs tougher texting laws.” Fernandez says.
“There are several bills pending in the state legislature, though not tough enough, would be steps in the right direction. Legislators need to stop thinking that texting while driving is just an innocent habit and take action before more Floridians are killed and injured,” Fernandez says.
Those pending bills propose a number of changes to the current law. Below is their designation and description. The listed House and Senate bills are identical or similar.
Senate Bill Number
House Bill Number
Makes texting and driving a primary offense.
Ban on drivers younger than 18 using wireless devices.
Doubles fines if texting and driving in a school zone.
Ban on drivers using wireless devices in a school zone.
Felony charge if texting while driving results in a fatality.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates that in 2012, 4,841 motor vehicle accidents were caused by drivers texting or using an “electronic communication device.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that in 2012 across the country, 3,328 people were killed due to accidents caused by distracted driving and about 421,000 were injured.
The Fernandez Firm’s personal injury lawyers have successfully represented thousands of injured clients in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and throughout the State of Florida. With over $50 Million in jury verdicts and negotiated settlements, the Fernandez Firm is a leading Florida personal injury law firm. Our lawyers have extensive expertise in car accident, medical malpractice and wrongful death litigation. The firm’s website is located at www.fernandezfirm.com
1922 East 4th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33605