The month of April is set aside to mark the National Distracted Driving Awareness, therefore it’s another opportunity to examine the gains and lapses that have being recorded over the years. Most states across the country including Florida has passed laws that ban or limit sending text and making use on cell phones on wheels. Although these laws have are in place, records have shown that they fall short of protecting road users from the substantial risk distracted drivers are likely to cause.
The National Safety Council estimates that the number of death recorded in 2016 increased rapidly;
About 40,000 fatalities were recorded across the country.
2016 saw a 6 percent increase in deaths to surpass the previous year.
About 4.6 million individuals sustained serious injuries that required the attention of a medical personnel.
The statistics above makes it clear that our roads are no longer safe. The National Safety Council said the reason for a sharp increase is as a result of distracted drivers. The situation has become so serious that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has referred to the entire situation as a national epidemic. For this reason, the National Safety Council has called for other measures to reduce the menace including tougher laws against distracted drivers. They are of the view that the use of cell phone to text and call should be prohibited entirely.
States have the power to regulate the use of cell phone by drivers. Virtually all the states in the federation have passed laws in that regard but not all have addressed most of the safety concerns posed by making use of phones while driving. Some states have prohibited novice drivers and bus drivers from making use of the cell phone. They are not allowed to text or make calls while driving but the law permits other drivers to make use of hands-free devices. The use of hand’s-free device doesn’t reduce the risk of causing a distraction.
The National Safety Council has suggested that states should make laws regarding distracted driving a primary law. This would help in enforcing the laws better, rather than make them secondary laws as its the case with most states. When it’s a secondary law, officers can’t cite the driver for a distracted offense except he commits another offense. The State of Florida prohibits texting while driving. The state is fully aware of the menace distracted driving has caused. This prohibition is enshrined in the Florida State Statute 316.305.
Even with all these measures in place, more work needs to be done to reduce the risk of distracted driving. Florida personal injury attorneys are always ready to help. If you have ever been injured by a distracted driver, you can consult a Florida personal injury attorney to know if your legal rights have been breached.