Florida’s New Texting Ban May Mean Easier Cases for Victims of Distracted Driving
Florida’s New Texting Ban May Mean Easier Cases for Victims of Distracted Driving Earlier this month Florida joined the 45 other states in the U.S. with bans on texting while driving. The new law, SB 52, makes it a secondary offense to text while operating a motor vehicle. This means that although texting while driving is illegal, it is not a citable offense unless a police officer observes the driver breaking another law, such as speeding, or not wearing a seatbelt.
The law also contains several exceptions. First, viewing texts for the purpose of navigation is allowable, as is using your phone as a navigator, or for weather and safety alerts. Although the ban is significantly weaker than most anti-texting laws in most other states, it can have broad effects on the way liability for car collisions are determined where a driver was texting.
Texting While Driving is Now Likely Negligent Per Se
Most people know that texting while driving is dangerous; cell phones are the leading distractions that cause vehicle collisions. In legal terms this means that individuals who text while drive are negligent. The law of negligence requires drivers to pay others a duty of reasonable care, and when they breach that duty and cause damages negligent drivers are liable for the damages they cause. Generally, violating a law is conclusive evidence that the duty of care was violated, this is known as negligence per se.p
To prove liability under negligence per se an individual must show 4 things:
- The negligent party broke the law by texting while driving;
- The law provides a criminal penalty, including fines;
- The accident victim was harmed by precisely the kind of accident that the law was designed to protect against and;
- The victim was in the class of individuals the law tried to protect.
Now that texting behind the wheel is illegal it can likely be used to hold those negligent drivers responsible when their texting leads to an accident.
Contact a West Palm Beach Auto Accident Lawyer
To learn more about your rights to a lawsuit or settlement against a distracted driver in a texting and driving accident contact the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A. Our personal injury attorneys have expertise in Palm Beach County texting and driving accident cases. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 561-832-4848.