State and federal traffic laws and regulations are intended to keep drivers and other motorists safe. Issuing citations is one way to enforce seat belt laws, speeding limits, and other traffic regulations. What if a law goes unenforced? Is it still effective? Do drivers and motorists still see the benefits of the law? According to recent reports, Florida’s texting while driving laws have essentially gone unenforced throughout Broward County. The law went into effect in October, however there were only 32 citations issued in Broward County through the end of December.
Texting and driving is a known road hazard that has caused thousands of accidents, injuries and preventable fatalities throughout the state. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims recover compensation and in promoting driver safety. We have seen the devastating results caused by distracted drivers and urge all motorists to put down their cell phones when behind the wheel.
The texting and driving ban was an important piece of legislation to help prevent distracted driving. Despite the benefits of the law, it has been difficult to enforce. Law enforcement agencies admit that it is a challenge to catch drivers who text—until it is too late. The statewide ban makes it a primary offense to text and drive. According to the Florida State Highway Patrol, there were 393 tickets issued statewide. The highest number of citations were in Miami-Dade County (105) and only 32 in Broward County.
Another problem with enforcing the law is that the penalties are not very severe. Drivers who are fined for the first time for texting and driving are only forced to pay $30 plus court costs. Even for a second offense, drivers are only fined $60 and lose 3 points on their licenses. Despite the known dangers and high risks of texting and driving, legislators an law enforcement officers have not taken the most aggressive action in catching or penalizing drivers who text behind the wheel.
Some law enforcement agents assert that the knowledge of the law will be a deterrent on its own. The idea is that just knowing that texting and driving is illegal will deter drivers from pulling out their phones. Others are not so sure—if no one ever gets pulled over and ticketed, how effective is the law? At the very least, the new law is intended to raise awareness and make drivers aware that it is extremely dangerous, and illegal, to text and drive.
When comparing the texting and driving ban to seat belt laws that were set in place over 20 years ago, officials claim that the number of citations issued were comparably low. Now that both are considered primary offenses rather than secondary offenses, the number of citations should continue to rise.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sending texts while behind the wheel increases the likelihood of an accident by 23 times. The National Safety Council has estimated that 200,000 accidents a year are caused by texting and driving. Every eyar, thousands of highway accidents are caused by texting and driving. State representatives are weighing legislation that would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to text or talk on the phone while driving. Some legislators also want to increase the fines for drivers who are on their cell phone or texting in school zones.
Call Freeman Injury Law in South Florida — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
Study: Children More Distracting to Drivers Than Cell Phones, Dec. 27, 2013, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog
Broward Traffic Safety: What are Your Attitudes Behind the Wheel? Dec. 18, 2013, Port St. Lucie Car Accident Lawyer Blog