Articles Posted in Texting while driving

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004-TextingLawA new study revealed that 92% of motorists use their phone while operating their vehicle.  That reality must sink in.  Whether you are in traffic, stopped at a red light, making 60mph on the highway, a pedestrian walking across an intersection, a bicyclist on a Sunday morning run, or in an Uber, understand that you are simply 100% at risk of injury.  More and more, motorists see being in a moving car as being in a moving elevator: an opportunity to check emails, respond to texts, send a snap, read a story on Facebook, take a selfie to post on Instagram.  The obvious difference is one is potentially deadly.  This reality will remain true until we all operate self-driving vehicles.

For the last time, Floridians are undeniably on notice: Florida is the second-worst state for distracted driving.  The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ statistics show that a distracted driving-related accident will occur every 10-12 minutes in Florida.  That adds up to almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted-driving, and the consequences are life-altering, causing 3,500 catastrophic injuries and 233 deaths in 2016.

Just a few days ago, Ira H. Leesfield and Adam Rose published an op-ed titled “Texting while driving is nothing to ‘LOL’ about” in the Daily Business Review stressing the urgency of public officials to act before more lives are lost and affected by this behavioral epidemic.

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Yesterday, we reported on the tragic accident that took the life of a bicyclist and seriously injured another in a hit and run accident that occurred in Key Biscayne in the early morning hours.

Alejandro Alvarez.jpgIn the last 24 hours, police has released additional information on what caused the accident, and the identities of the people involved. 21-year-old Alejandro Alvarez was arrested by police after he admitted to running over bicyclists Walter Reyes, and Henry Hernandez. Walter Reyes succumbed to his injuries at the scene, while Henry Hernandez was emergently taken to Mercy Hospital for serious physical injuries. Henry is said to be in stable condition at this time.

Upon admitting being at the wheels of the 2014 VW Jetta involved in the incident, Alvarez was arrested by police. He is currently behind bars and facing multiple criminal charges, including manslaughter and driving under the influence.

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pedestrian_hit_mgn.jpegFlorida, the third most populated state in the nation, has tepid or no laws to prevent cell phone or texting abuse, but at the same time, complaint ranking is No. 1 in pedestrian deaths. Leesfield Scolaro, P.A. has been clamoring and pushing the legislature for greater public protection from distracting cell phone/texting excesses. “We are a state of millions of smart phones and stupid drivers,” according to Managing Partner, Ira Leesfield, who has written, lectured and lobbied for change:

“Driving While on the Cell Phone-Punitive Damage Awards Should Come Through Loud and Clear.” The Brief, American Bar Association, Vol. 36, No. 4, Summer 2007. “Can You Hear Me Now – An Argument for Punitive Damages in Cell Phone Driving Cases.” Section Connection, Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability, American Association for Justice, Vol. 13, No. 1 Fall/Winter 2006. “Make the Right Call.” The Miami Herald, March 13, 2013. “Driving + Cell Phones = Bad Call.” Trial Magazine, American Association for Justice, August 2010.

Leesfield, through the safety efforts of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) has taken the specific platform to underscore the neuro-impairment of a cell phone user while operating a multi-ton vehicle. Motor vehicle accidents should be tracked by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Cell phone abuse has now found its way to large waterways, and the number of cell phone deaths and injuries by boat and connected with water sports is dramatically increasing.
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On October 1, 2013, the first law banning texting while driving comes into effect in the State of Florida. This law is a half step in the right direction, but a half step nevertheless.

crphoto 3_resize.jpgThe Florida legislator has advocated for a ban on cell phone use while driving for several years. The best compromise Tallahassee was able to reach has essentially pulled the teeth of the new law. We described in detail the shortcomings of the new piece of legislation in our previous articles on the topic:

Florida’s ban on texting while driving – A toothless law in need of more bite!

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On May 2, 2013, the State of Florida approved a bill named the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”. The new law, which is to come into effect on October 1, 2013, will ban all drivers from texting and driving. We have previously reported on the new bill earlier this year in our post titled: “Florida on its way to ban texting-while-driving? How a worthless piece of legislation will keep roads unsafe

In the better part of the last decade, the legislator has failed to come to an agreement on a law that would ban texting while driving and pass a law to finally deter and reduce the number of distracted drivers who travel through the populous and dangerous roads of Florida. Today, very little can derail this bill to become law. It only awaits a signature by Florida Governor Rick Scott, which should officially occur in the next few weeks.

texting while driving02.jpgAs discussed in our previously-mentioned post, informed proponents of a ban on texting while driving have openly criticized the future law in that it does not go far enough. The main point of criticism is that the Florida legislature has voted to make any violation of the texting ban a secondary offense, or a toothless bite.

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