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Lawmakers consider tougher distracted driving law

Many people in Florida have for a long time thought that this state’s laws prohibiting texting and driving were a little lax.

For instance, as of right now, police cannot pull over a motorist simply because the officer notices the driver texting and driving. Instead, they may only stop a car after observing a separate traffic violation. They may then write a separate ticket if texting and driving was also occurring.

Lawmakers are again considering proposals that will make texting and driving a primary offense, that is, an infraction for which law enforcement officers can immediately initiate a traffic stop, even if the driver was somehow managing to otherwise follow the rules of the road.

It seems there is reason for optimism that the Legislature will be able to enact a tougher distracted driving law this session. The House of the Legislature has moved its version of the proposal to the full floor for a definitive vote. The Florida Senate’s version of the measure, which will eventually have to be reconciled with the House’s bill, has cleared several procedural hurdles.

A tougher distracted driving law will hopefully reduce the number of auto accidents in Coral Gables and the rest of Southern Florida. As many Floridians can likely guess, distracted driving often leads to severe and even fatal injuries. On the flip side, the experience of one of Florida’s neighbors suggests that tougher laws help reduce texting and driving and related behaviors, at least in the short term.

No matter what ultimately happens with respect to these new proposals, victims of distracted drivers who have suffered severe injuries as a result should remember that they have legal options available to them. For instance, they may be able to recover compensation from the negligent driver who caused their accident.