Archive for November 2009

Texting While Driving Leads to Felony Charge

November 20, 2009

Texting while driving has become the latest traffic safety issue to garner headline attention. Earlier this month, the Polk County, FL sheriff’s office charged a man with reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, a third degree felony. The charges arose from an August accident in which the man, while reportedly texting, crashed into the back of a garbage truck. The accident pinned a worker between the driver’s car and the truck resulting in the worker losing both of his legs.

Currently, 19 states, including Alaska, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving for all drivers. Several other states are looking to address the issue in upcoming legislative sessions. In Pennsylvania, the motorist safety club AAA has endorsed similar legislation. Since federal laws cannot directly address an individual state’s driving laws, there is a national call for a federal law that would require all states to ban texting while driving or risk losing federal highway money marked for local use.

At home here in Florida governor Charlie Crist recently requested that the legislature address this issue in its 2010 session. And locally, the City of Parkland. FL became the first Broward county city to pass an ordinance banning texting while driving. If caught, the fine is $100.

A recent study (opens in a pdf file) by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute shows that the risk of an accident increases 2.8 times while the driver is dialing a cell phone. That risk increases to 23 times for a driver that is texting compared to normal driving conditions.

There is a question as to whether these laws are effective. Only time will tell as most state laws addressing this issue have been in place less than a year.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer