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Texting While Driving Accident Lawyer in Kissimmee

In today's digital age, the pervasive use of smartphones has led to a concerning trend on our roadways: texting while driving. This dangerous behavior not only jeopardizes the safety of drivers and passengers but also poses a significant risk to pedestrians and cyclists.

At The Ward Law Group, we understand the devastating consequences of texting while driving accidents and are committed to advocating for victims' rights.

We want to share some valuable information regarding this issue and try to answer the most common question: Is texting while driving in Kissimmee illegal?

The Prevalence of Texting While Driving

The allure of constant connectivity has made cell phones an indispensable part of modern life, especially among younger generations. Regrettably, this attachment to electronic devices has spilled over into our driving habits, with alarming statistics revealing that over 50% of teenagers admit to using their cell phones while behind the wheel.

This pervasive distraction has dire implications for road safety, contributing to yearly accidents.

Injuries Resulting from Texting While Driving Accidents

Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving that can have catastrophic consequences. The split-second decision to glance at a screen instead of focusing on the road can lead to devastating collisions, resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities.

Victims of texting while driving accidents may suffer from a range of injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and internal organ injuries, among others.

Determining Liability

Establishing liability following a texting-while-driving accident is paramount to securing compensation for your injuries and losses. While police reports and eyewitness testimonies may provide crucial evidence, insurance companies often engage in investigations to assess liability and determine settlement amounts.

 However, these companies may employ deceptive tactics to minimize payouts, underscoring the importance of legal representation.

Navigating Insurance Company Negotiations

Insurance company negotiations can be complex and adversarial, with adjusters employing various strategies to diminish settlement amounts. Victims should exercise caution when interacting with insurance representatives, avoid recorded conversations, and carefully consider their responses to prevent compromising their claims.

Additionally, victims should refrain from disclosing complete medical records until their injuries have been fully resolved.

Understanding Florida's Distracted Driving Laws

In Florida, distracted driving encompasses more than texting behind the wheel. Florida Statute 316.305, also known as The Wireless Communications While Driving Law, was implemented on July 1, 2019, mandating that drivers refrain from using handheld devices, mobile phones, or headphones while driving, diverting their attention from the road.

Navigating the intricacies of the new hands-free law can be daunting, but at The Ward Law Group, our experienced attorneys are here to provide clarity and guidance.

With over seventy-five years of combined legal expertise, we have assisted countless individuals in understanding Florida's driving laws, including regulations surrounding cell phone usage while driving.

Under the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, law enforcement officers are empowered to pull over drivers caught texting and driving and issue citations for violations. As outlined in Florida Statute 316.306, it is illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device to compose or send text messages or emails.

Additionally, drivers are prohibited from using wireless communication devices in designated school zones, school crossings, or work areas, according to Florida Statute 316.306. Violating these laws can result in severe consequences, including fines and penalties.

Texting While Driving Facts: The State of Florida

Based on texting while driving statistics in the State of Florida, distracted driving poses a significant threat to road safety, claiming the lives of over 3,000 individuals annually, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Florida has enacted a new hands-free law to curb distracted driving accidents statewide to combat this alarming trend.

Driving while distracted encompasses various behaviors that divert a driver's attention from the road, posing grave risks to everyone on the roadway. These distractions manifest in three primary forms:

  1. Visual Distraction involves taking one's eyes off the road, hindering the driver's ability to observe and react to potential hazards.
  2. Manual Distraction:     Taking hands off the wheel reduces the driver's control over the vehicle, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  3. Cognitive Distraction:     When a driver's mind wanders from the task of driving, their ability to make split-second decisions and respond to changing road conditions is compromised.

Texting while driving epitomizes the dangers of distracted driving, as it involves all three forms of distraction simultaneously, making it particularly hazardous.

However, numerous other activities contribute to distracted driving, including engaging with passengers, attending to children or pets, eating, drinking, grooming, adjusting vehicle controls, and daydreaming.

It's essential to recognize that any activity that draws a driver's attention away from the road significantly increases the risk of accidents. By remaining focused and attentive while driving, motorists can enhance their ability to anticipate and avoid potential collisions, ensuring safer roadways for all.

Mobile Phone Use While Driving in Florida

In Florida, laws regarding mobile phone use while driving have evolved to address the dangers of distracted driving. While efforts have been made to enact comprehensive bans on mobile phone use behind the wheel, current regulations target specific activities to enhance road safety.

Under Florida law, using a handheld device to text, browse the internet, access information, or utilize applications while driving is strictly prohibited. Additionally, drivers are prohibited from wearing earphones, headphones, or headsets while operating a vehicle.

However, certain mobile phone activities remain legal in Florida. Making or receiving phone calls while driving is generally permitted, with a few exceptions. Similarly, sending text messages via hands-free voice activation is not explicitly prohibited.

Despite these allowances, legal experts, such as those at The Ward Law Group, strongly advise against using mobile phones while driving to prioritize safety and minimize liability. By refraining from phone use behind the wheel, drivers can contribute to safer roadways and reduce the risk of accidents.

Data Viewing and GPS Usage While Driving in Florida

In Florida, strict regulations govern wireless communication devices while driving to promote road safety.

Drivers are prohibited from reading data on wireless communication devices while operating a vehicle. This includes viewing text messages, instant messages, emails, social media platforms, or other mobile phone applications or similar devices.

However, specific allowances exist for GPS usage while driving in Florida. If a driver has pre-programmed a GPS device before commencing their journey, they can view the map and follow directions while on the road.

This exception ensures drivers can navigate safely without compromising their attention on the road ahead.

Implementation and Enforcement of the Hands-Free Law

The Hands-Free Law, outlined in Florida Statute 316.305, officially took effect on July 1, 2019. This law empowers law enforcement to stop drivers and issue citations for texting while driving. The second section, Florida Statutes 316.306, was enacted on October 1, 2019.

Under this section, drivers can receive warnings for handheld wireless communication devices in designated work and school zones. Effective January 1, 2020, citations are issued for failure to utilize hands-free devices in these areas.

Definition of Wireless Communications Device

A wireless communication device encompasses handheld gadgets designed for text message reception or transmission, data access or storage, and internet connectivity. This category includes cell phones, laptops, video games, tablets, and similar devices.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Violations of the Hands-Free Law are subject to specific penalties:

  • First Offense: Considered a non-moving traffic violation, the initial offense incurs a $30 fine (excluding court costs and related fees) with no points against the driver's license.
  • Second Offense: A repeat offense within five years is categorized as a moving traffic violation. It results in a $60 fine (excluding court costs and related fees) and accrues 3 points against the driver's license.

Failure to use a hands-free device in work zones and school zones incurs the following penalties:

  • Any Offense: Classified as a moving traffic violation, each offense carries a $60 fine (excluding court costs and related fees) and 3 points against the driver's license.

How many people die a year from texting while driving?

Approximately 400 fatal crashes occur annually due to texting and driving alone. However, when considering distracted driving in its entirety, this number surges to over 30,000, as reported by the NHTSA. Despite a decline in texting and driving accidents, overall fatal crashes stemming from distracted driving have been steadily increasing.

Recent data reveals spikes in cell phone-related fatalities, notably in 2019 and 2021, with other years maintaining a consistent average of around 400 deaths annually. These statistics underscore the pressing need for increased awareness and enforcement of laws to curb distracted driving to safeguard lives on Florida's roadways.

What Else We Must Know about Florida's Cell Phone Laws

Coverage of Mobile Devices

Florida's distracted driving law extends to all wireless communication devices, encompassing cell phones, tablets, laptops, and similar devices for texting, instant messaging, or other non-voice interactions.

Exceptions and Exemptions

Exceptions to Florida's cell phone laws include reporting criminal activity, receiving navigational information, and engaging in wireless interpersonal communication that doesn't necessitate manual text input. Emergency vehicle operators on official duties are also exempt from these regulations.

Definition of Hands-Free Technology

Hands-free technology involves voice commands and wireless communication methods, enabling drivers to operate their phones without manual typing or device handling. This includes voice-activated texting and listening devices.

Enforcement in School and Work Zones

Law enforcement officers have the authority in school and work zones to issue citations for any handheld cell phone usage. This offense constitutes a primary violation, allowing police to stop drivers solely based on this violation.

Permissible Use of Hands-Free Features

Florida drivers can use hands-free texting and voice playback features while driving. These functionalities facilitate sending and receiving text messages or executing other tasks without physically interacting or manually typing on the device.

Navigation Usage

In Florida, cell phone use for navigation is permissible. However, setting the destination before driving and utilizing hands-free technology to maintain focus on the road is advisable.

Insights on the New Wireless Communications Law

Florida's recent legislation targets distracted driving by specifically addressing texting and manual data entry while driving. It's part of a broader initiative aimed at enhancing driving safety and reducing accidents attributed to distracted driving.

Educational Resources

Florida offers various driving safety programs covering cell phone laws, distracted driving risks, and safe driving practices. These programs are often accessible through driver's license offices and community centers, providing valuable information to enhance driver awareness and safety.

Contact a Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer in Kissimmee

If you've been injured in a texting-while-driving accident, you don't have to navigate the legal process alone. Our experienced team at The Ward Law Group is here to help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and let us fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Call now at 855-DOLOR-55!