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Florida Mother Targets Legislators in Distracted Driving Fight

A South Florida mother, Kristin Murphy, knows just how catastrophic distracted driving car accidents can be. She lost her daughter in one in 2010. She used to use her phone in the driver’s seat, but not anymore.
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According to the Marco Eagle, the mother is one of three parents who are pushing for Florida legislators to pass some kind of law to keep drivers in the state of Florida off of their cell phones. They pushed most recently at the Florida Distracted Driving Summit in Tampa.

Our Pompano Beach car accident lawyers understand that the state of Florida is one of the few states left in the country that continues to allow drivers to engage in these dangerous behaviors behind the wheel. Despite the thousands who are killed every year in these kinds of accidents, legislators continue to look the other way and deny all anti-distracted driving proposals.

Murphy’s daughter was 19 and was pregnant when she was involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver. Officials were able to arrest the driver, another 19-year-old, and determined that he was on his phone when the accident happened.

“How would you feel if the sheriff or the highway patrol knocked on your door to tell you your child was in an accident, and it was preventable?” said Murphy.

Since the accident, the mother has been advocating for the passage of these kinds of laws. At one point during her advocacy, she even filmed a PSA with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Currently, there are 39 states that ban drivers from test messaging at the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA). Still, Florida has held strong in not joining the safety movement.

Legislators say that they want to conduct a study first, before they decide to pass such a law. Murphy says the thousands of people who die every year in these accidents should be enough proof. Any additional studies are just wasting time.

Nationwide, distracted driving was a factor in about 20 percent of roadway fatalities in 2010.

To help to spread the word, Murphy currently speaks with safe driving groups and driver’s education classes. While she focuses her time on our younger drivers, she says that it’s something that everyone needs to be aware of. Distractions of all kinds increase our risks for accidents. Cell phones are a distraction that don’t need to be. Keep your cell phones in your glove box or in the back seat — out of sight, out of mind. If there’s a phone call or text that you need to take, have a passenger take care of it or pull over, stop and do so safely.

In 2010, there were more than 3,090 people killed in car accidents that involved a distracted driver, according to Distraction.gov. Another 415,000 people were injured as well. And the worst part about it all is that these accidents are completely preventable, yet Florida officials refuse to take the next step.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash, contact the personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Passengers: Increasing Your Teen’s Risks for an Accident, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, October 19, 2012

Palm Beach Traffic Safety: Drivers Behaving Badly, Even Without Distractions, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, August 30, 2012

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