Stop Texting and Drive!!! Text messaging has far surpassed cell phone calls as the primary means of wireless communication, industry surveys show, and, as a result, more and more drivers are texting while driving. In fact, one study found 75 billion text messages were sent in June 2008!
The consumer research company Nielsen Mobile tracked 50,000 customers in the second quarter of 2008 and found that the average American sent or received 357 texts a month, compared with 204 phone calls. The number is much higher for teenagers who average 1,742 text messages a month.
While the use of text messaging is up, so are traffic accidents attributed to driver distraction. A study conducted by Harvard University for the NSC last year estimated cell phone use contributed to 636,000 car accidents, 333,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths last year.
A number of bills introduced into the 2009 Florida Legislature call for a ban on text messaging. In the Senate, Sens. Carey Baker, R-Eustis and Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, both have bills. Baker's would ban cell phone use and texting by drivers who are 18 and younger, while Wilson's bill would ban talking on any handheld device and sending texts for all drivers.
Wilson's bill is "Heather's Law," named after Heather Hurd, 26, a Lakeland-area woman who was killed in January of last year, when a tractor and semi-trailer driver slammed into 10 cars stopped at a traffic light on U.S. 27. The tractor-truck driver reportedly was distracted while sending a text message and was charged in September with careless driving.
In the House, Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey has a measure similar to Baker's, and Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota is pushing a bill that would ban text messaging only.
Let your voice be heard. You can contact your Florida legislature through my website, MatthewNoyes.com.
For more information about your rights and responsibilities after a Florida car accident, motorcycle accident, workers' comp claim or other personal injury matter, click here to contact Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes.