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Father Pushes for Anti-Distraction Bill with Florida Lawmakers

A Florida State committee is taking the first step at making texting while driving against the law. A Florida father has made it his personal journey to get this done, according to My Fox Tampa Bay. His name is Steve Augello and he lost his daughter in a distracted driving car accident.

It wasn’t his daughter’s fault either. It was the irresponsible driving habits of another driver that cost her life. It was a text message. And he’s working to make sure that no other family has to go through this kind of pain.

“I miss my daughter,” Augello said.

Our Lake Worth car accident attorneys understand that Florida is one of the few states left that allows drivers to engage in this dangerous driving behavior. Florida is one of the only states left that allows drivers to talk on cell phones and text message behind the wheel. And Augello drove to Tallahassee to try to put an end to it. He drove to our state capitol to testify for a ban that could potentially make it illegal for drivers to text and drive.

This isn’t the first time though that Florida lawmakers have debated such a measure. There have been a number of bills that have failed to make it through the law-making process. The first anti-distracted driving bills started making their way into Florida lawmakers’ laps about 10 years ago. Still, we’re one of only six states to go without a ban.

Critics of these kinds of bills say that the government needs to stay out of citizens’ cars.

Augello doesn’t agree. He says that when he meets one of these critics, he just shows them a picture of the vehicle that his daughter was driving when she was killed by a distracted driver.

According to Vanessa Jones, a spokesperson with AAA, it’s tough to put a number on exactly how many lives are lost each year in these kinds of accidents. Distractions are hard to prove as drivers aren’t ready to admit that it was their distractions that caused an accident. But the truth of the matter is that a driver is four times more likely to get into a car accident while talking on a cell phone behind the wheel. They’re close to 25 times more likely when they’re text messaging.

Although Florida lawmakers may not be on board with banning this activity for drivers, there are plenty of Fortune 500 companies that have made the move. Companies like Disney and Darden have already enacted policies within the workplace that stop workers from texting and talking on cell phones behind the wheel. Many of these companies hope that their small changes will help to make a difference in the big picture.

The new bill, Senate Bill 52, isn’t as tough as it could be. It would only make texting while driving a secondary offense. This means that a driver would have to be pulled over for another offense before he could be cited for text messaging behind the wheel.

Augello says that it’s not the best, but it’s a step in the right direction.

According to AAA, distracted driving is the culprit in more than 15 percent of fatal traffic accidents and accounts for about 5,000 fatalities each and every year.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-561-7777.

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Rollover Accident Kills Port St. Lucie Driver, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 17, 2013

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