Florida Car Accident Lawyer Philip DeBerard Says New Proposed Texting Ban Could Be Stronger

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The founder of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, says texting while driving should be made a primary violation and carry stiffer penalties than the bill currently before the House.

Car accident lawyer serving Stuart, FL, and surrounding areas in South Florida

Philip DeBerard, III

I am thankful to see some action being taken. But I don’t think this would go far enough in solving the very serious problem of distracted driving in Florida.

Philip DeBerard, III, who represents car accident victims throughout South Florida, said a proposed texting while driving ban in the Florida legislature may ultimately fall short of meeting the goal of reducing or eliminating distracted driving accidents on the state’s roads.

Earlier this month, the Florida Senate passed SB 52 by a 36-0 vote, sending the bill to the Florida House. However, an amendment that would allow cell phone records to be used by police officers as evidence only in the “event of a crash resulting in death or personal injury” was added to the bill this week in the House, which passed the amended bill, the Associated Press reported.

DeBerard, a board-certified civil trial lawyer who has been providing legal help to Florida car accident victims since 1975, said Senate lawmakers may have come up with a watered down bill simply out of the desire to get some type of texting legislation passed – an effort that may be frustrated by the recent House amendment, according to the AP report.

The attorney pointed to the fact that the bill makes texting while driving a secondary violation, meaning that a driver would need to be committing another violation before being cited for texting while driving. The bill also would impose only a $30 fine for first-time offenders.

Florida is one of only five states in the U.S. with no form of texting ban. The state also has no legal restrictions on using hand-held or hands-free cell phones while driving.

“While I think this ban would help to raise awareness that texting behind the wheel is dangerous, I don’t think it will ultimately deter many drivers from doing it. And the bill also doesn’t even touch on the issue of talking on a cell phone while driving,” DeBerard said.

“I am thankful to see some progress in this area by the Senate passing a ban. But I don’t think this would go far enough in solving the very serious problem of distracted driving in Florida.”

In addition to seeking compensation for distracted driving accident victims, DeBerard’s law firm has been active in raising awareness about the risks of texting or using cell phones while driving.

DeBerard noted that the Associated Press, citing a preliminary report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, says that 4,841 crashes in Florida in 2012 involved a driver who had been texting or otherwise using an electronic communication device while driving.

DeBerard said the state’s lawmakers should simply ban the use of any electronic communication device while driving, for any purpose, and make it a primary offense with penalties comparable to other traffic offenses such as speeding or aggressive driving.

“Our firm will to continue to push for stronger anti-distracted driving laws,” DeBerard said, “and we will certainly continue to fight to protect the right of those harmed by careless and reckless drivers.”

About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. The firm represents clients throughout the South Florida communities of Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and across the state of Florida. The firm’s office is located 215 Southwest Federal Hwy., Ste. 300, Stuart, FL 34994 (local phone 772-286-1000). For more information, call (800) 299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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