Riviera Beach Cell Phone Distractions When Driving
One of the most important things to consider is the fact that driving a motor vehicle is a very serious affair. However, due to the way people think about driving, they assume that it’s just one of the many tasks that they perform each day, as opposed to something that is potentially life threatening. This is why we can encounter a cell phone use car crash on a regular basis. While checking one’s email may not involve the possibility of a life changing injury or even a fatality, this isn’t true about getting behind the wheel of an auto. This is why it’s essential that you don’t attempt using an electronic device while you’re driving.
It goes without saying that driving is a task that utilizes one’s utmost focus and attention. Even a small error can suddenly become a life-changing event. This is the reason that we see an average of 1.6 million car accidents per year, with many of them completely avoidable. In addition, The National Safety Council has provided statistics that show cell phone use car crash injuries number approximately 390,000 per year. They have even gone as far as reporting that about one out of every car crashes involved cell phone use!
Some of the statistics that have been reported are:
- Fatal car crashes involving teens involved 21% of the drivers utilizing a cell phone and becoming distracted as a result.
- AAA polls reported that most teens (94%) understand the dangers of texting while driving, yet 34% of them still do it.
- Answering a text uses about five seconds of your complete attention span. This is the time required to travel the entire length of a football field when driving 55 mph.
- Amazingly, texting while driving is far more likely (6x) to be the cause of a car accident than driving while drunk!
It’s no secret that the popularity of cell phones has increased dramatically over the years. As a matter of fact, we’ve seen many situations in which homes don’t even bother with the installation of a landline phone. That’s because they want the convenience of being able to take their phones with them. Additionally, today’s cell phones can provide many functions other than just making and receiving phone calls. You can take large numbers of photos and record videos with exceptional definition. You can also check your email and connect to the Internet. A cell phone today is like having a miniature office in your pocket or handbag.
In addition, we now live in the “Information Age”, in which people want to be constantly connected with the world and with each other. While this is a great thing and can facilitate many tasks in our lives, it’s also true that using a cell phone is not conducive to safe driving.What are the Riviera Beach Statutes Regarding Cell Phone Use and Driving?
One of the interesting things regarding cell phone regulations in Florida is the fact that up until 2019, it was considered only a secondary offense to text on a cell phone while driving. Since it wasn’t considered a primary offense, a police officer wasn’t able to pull over a driver just for texting. Rather, in order for them to stop a texting driver, some other (primary) offense would need to have been committed – such as making an illegal turn.
The new statutes regarding texting and driving now make it a primary offense to text while one is driving. This makes it possible for the police to pull a driver over and issue a citation for texting and driving. The new Florida statute (Statute 316.305) is designed to stop the use of cell phone while driving and include provisions that state:
A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually entering or typing multiple; symbols, numbers, letters or other characters into a wireless communications device. This also includes reading and sending data on a wireless device for the purposes of (non-voice) interpersonal communication. This includes but is not limited to; instant messaging, e-mailing and texting. (3) (a).
The term “wireless communications device” applies to any handheld device that is intended or designed to be held in a handheld manner. The device is also designed or intended to transmit or receive character-based or text messages, store or access data or connect to the Internet or any other communication service that is defined in Statute 812.15 and that allows text communication.
Vehicles that are not being operated and are stationary are not included in this statute and therefore are not subject to this prohibition.
In addition, this prohibition does not apply to motor vehicle operators who; performing official duties as an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Statute 322.01, a fire service or law enforcement professional or an emergency medical professional.
In addition, this prohibition does not apply to those who are reporting a suspicious or criminal activity to law enforcement authorities.
This prohibition does not apply to those who are receiving messages that are; related to the navigation or operation of the motor vehicle, safety-related information which includes weather, traffic or emergency alerts data used primarily by the motor vehicle, radio broadcasts, using a system or device for navigation purposes, conducting wireless interpersonal communication that doesn’t require manual entry of multiple numbers, letters or symbols except for the purposes of deactivation, activation or for the initiation of a function or feature.
In the event of a crash that involves personal injury or death, the operation of an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode, as defined in Statute 316.003, the driver’s wireless communication device’s billing records or the testimony/written statements from the appropriate authorities receiving such messages may be admissible as evidence in proceedings that are designed to determine if a statute has been violated.
In addition, the new law prohibits the use of a handheld electronic communication device when one is driving in a designated work or school zone or at a designated school crossing. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2019 with the work and school zone portions of the law will become enforceable on 10/1/2019. There is also to be an “education period” in which only warnings will be handed out by police until 1/1/2020. At that time, police will be issuing tickets.What can I do if I’m Involved in a Riviera Beach Crash Resulting from Texting and Driving?
First of all, like in any car crash situation, you need to take care of yourself and any passengers that were in your vehicle. Call 911 and if you can render any medical or medical transportation assistance, then you should do so. You should also try to keep people and (if possible) vehicles out of the way of incoming traffic or set up road warnings (flares, etc.).
If you can, exchange information with the other driver (license number, name, address, insurance info, etc.). Make sure the police have been contacted and cooperate fully with the law enforcement official that is doing the investigation. You will also want to get contact information from any witnesses to the accident. Under no case should you accept blame for the accident or place blame. Only answer the questions that the officer asks you. Contact your insurance company, as well.
Seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney, serving Riviera Beach, who can assist with how you may proceed. The initial consultation with the attorney will be free of charge, so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want their advice in a potentially legal matter.
Also, when you’ve been in a cell phone use car crash, you can encounter a number of serious injuries that may not be obvious at first. That’s because the shock of the crash can hide certain amounts of pain. While whiplash can take up to a day or more in order to manifest. Therefore, you should immediately visit your nearest hospital emergency room or doctor and receive a full checkup. Just make sure to save the bill receipts and set up a follow up appointment. Also, in the case of treatable injuries, keep a record of your health-related progress. All records of your accident should be kept in a separate file for later access.
If you are approached by the other driver’s insurance company, do not sign anything or accept any type of restitution. Insurance companies may try to offer monetary amounts that seem generous, but are not designed to cover future issues, such as loss of income or future medical expenses.How can I Prove That a Driver was Distracted by Cell Phone Use?
Texting while driving is considered a dangerous and reckless activity that falls under the category of being negligent. In this case, the driver who was texting and caused the accident should be held responsible. This means that they should become responsible for any expenses that have been incurred as a result of their reckless behavior.
One reason why you may want to have the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is that in the case of a cell phone use car crash, it is up to the victim to prove that the use of a cell phone was the cause of the accident. In essence, there are four things that need to be proven in a case such as this. They are:
- The defendant had a duty of care when it came to keeping other motorists safe by adhering to the laws related to driving.
- The defendant breached that duty of care when they decided to engage in texting while they were driving.
- It needs to be shown that the defendant’s breach was the direct cause of the accident.
- The accident directly led to injuries and/or damages.
In the case of a cell phone use car crash, the person who is responsible may be liable for both non-economic and economic damages. These damages can include:
- Hospital and medical-related costs
- Lost earnings from being away from the job
- Past, present and future pain restitution
- Mental and emotional distress compensation
- Lost earning potential due to permanent physical or mental ability loss.
- Loss of spousal consortium
Remember, the statute of limitations is usually only 4 years from the time of the accident (2 years for a wrongful death lawsuit). In order to contact witnesses and investigate, it is suggested that you contact a texting and driving accident attorney as soon as possible.Enlist a Personal Injury Lawyer, Serving Riviera Beach to Protect Your Rights
Deaths and injuries from a Florida car accident can be the result of distracted drivers, which may occur in Riviera Beach at any given time. If you are injured in an accident as the result of a distracted driver, it is advised that you seek medical care and the advice of a car accident personal injury attorney.
Discuss your claim with an experienced personal injury attorney, serving Riviera Beach, for guidance in receiving the best care and compensation that you rightfully deserve. Therefore, if you or a loved one are involved in a Riviera Beach car accident, contact a Dedicated Car Accident Personal Injury Attorney Serving Riviera Beach Today! Turn to Frankl & Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.