Texting while driving will again be discussed in Florida’s upcoming legislative session. State Representative Jackie Toledo has filed a bill modifying Florida’s present law on texting while driving.
Presently, Florida law prohibits texting and driving, but it is a secondary offense which means law enforcement must have another reason to pull a driver over besides just texting while driving. The proposed bill, HB 107, changes the title from “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” to “Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law.” The new law removes the exception of voice-activated messaging and outlaws any use of a wireless communications device while driving (with some emergency exceptions).
The bill was introduced with the parents of fourth-grader Logan Andrew Scherer at Rep. Toledo’s side. Logan was only 9 years old when he was killed two years ago in a massive pileup on Interstate 75. According to The Patch, the Scherers and their two children, Logan and Mallory, 5, were taking a family trip to Ocala on Sept. 15, 2016, when they hit a traffic jam on Interstate 75 in Hernando County. As Jordan Scherer braked and came to a stop behind a line of cars, their Mazda SUV was struck from behind. The driver who struck them was reportedly going 90 mph while texting on his cell phone. He didn’t see the traffic jam ahead until it was too late. Logan died instantly of blunt force trauma. The other members of the family were transported to the hospital with serious injuries.
The Scherers created the nonprofit Living for Logan Foundation in October 2017 to lobby for legislation to penalize distracted drivers. “We never thought something like this would happen to us, and that is a mistake that everybody makes,” said Brooke Scherer. “You’re not invincible, this can happen to you. You can be a victim of it, or you can use it.”
Florida in one of only four states in the country in which texting and driving is not a primary offense. Sixteen states have enacted similar “hands-free” laws. Toledo said the distracted driver law went into effect in Georgia in July and there has been a 25 percent decrease in crash fatalities.
Representative Toledo reported that in 2015, there were over 45,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida. These crashes resulted in 39,000 injuries and more than 200 fatalities. “Distracted driving can have deadly consequences and it’s time we finally address this public safety crisis,”Toledo said. “Children like Logan Scherer of Riverview would be alive today if drivers would put down their phones and concentrate on the road. This bill will hopefully act as a deterrent and make our roads safer.”
I will keep you posted on the progress of this bill and other legislation that could impact your life.
Drive safely and watch out for those who don’t!
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help families who are impacted by a Tampa Bay car accident. Attorney Matthew Noyes even wrote a book on it – Do You Really Need An Attorney After a Car Accident. If you have questions are a car accident, call Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.