FLORIDA TEXTING LAW TOUGH TO ENFORCE

As Palm Beach County car accident attorneys, we know that texting while driving is perhaps just as dangerous as drinking while driving, and there’s a law against it in Florida. But that law is so tough to enforce, it’s hardly ever used, according to the Tampa Bay Times. To begin with, texting while driving in Florida is still a “secondary” offense – like wearing seat-belts used to be in this state – so drivers can only be cited when they’re stopped for other violations like speeding or running a stop sign. At stoplights, the law doesn’t apply at all. It’s now estimated that Florida police officers will issue fewer than 1,800 texting citations in the law’s first year. One federal study the Times referenced estimates that at any given daytime moment, 40,000 Florida drivers are either talking or texting on a cell phone. In south Florida, if you are injured in any collision by a driver who was using a cell phone at the time of the accident, it’s imperative to speak with an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney immediately. You may have grounds to file a personal injury claim, but you’ll need to act promptly.

Depending on which report you read, cell phone use makes drivers from 3-to-23 times more likely to crash than drivers not using cell phones. Only four other states do not make texting while driving a “primary” offense, meaning that is the only cause a police officer would need to conduct a traffic stop. In contrast to the estimated 1,800 texting tickets that will be issued in Florida this year, about 155,000 tickets for texting are issued annually in California, where texting is a primary offense. Some in South Florida hope texting regulations here evolve the same way regulations developed for driving without a seat belt, which only became a primary offense in Florida five years ago.

Another common distraction on the road is driving with your pet. As many as one in three motorists admit that they are frequently distracted by their pets while driving, increasing the risk of an accident. Failure to restrain your pets can increase your risk of an accident. Pets riding unrestrained in a car with their owners are a much higher distraction factor than believed. According to a new study by the AAA, American motorists drive too often with pets loose in the car. These pets are not restrained in any kind of pet restraint system. Rather, they’re allowed to ride in the front seat, the backseat or sometimes even in the driver’s lap.

There is no reason why you need to drive with your pet unsecured in your car. There is an entire range of pet travel products out there, including everything from pet seatbelts and booster seats to carriers, depending on the breed and size of the pet. Distractions don’t only have to involve electronic distractions. Even petting Max can increase your risk of an accident.

Anywhere in south Florida, if you are injured as a result of driver negligence such as texting while driving, you may be able to file a personal injury suit and receive compensation for your medical treatment and related expenses. Have this handled by a good car accident lawyer. If you’re injured – now or in the future – by a driver who was texting or negligent in some other way, speak immediately to an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney.

HIT-AND-RUN IN SOUTH FLORIDA

When a traffic collision happens, a driver may choose to flee the scene of the accident for a number of reasons. There may be an outstanding arrest warrant, a lack of insurance, a suspended license, or impairment by drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t matter; in Florida, leaving the scene of an accident where there’s a death, injury, or property damage is a crime. Depending upon the amount of damage and the severity of injuries, leaving the scene of an accident may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

Sometimes, a driver can cause an accident and flee the scene without actually making contact with another vehicle. When an unidentified vehicle is part of the scenario leading to an accident but is not actually involved in the accident, and that vehicle or its driver cannot be located, it’s called a “phantom” vehicle. Such vehicles can make it difficult for personal injury victims to obtain the compensation they need for medical treatment and related expenses.

If the driver of an unidentified vehicle is responsible for an accident that injures you, your uninsured motorist coverage may be a source of compensation. Uninsured motorist benefits may be paid even in accidents where there is no direct contact between the vehicles. The most difficult cases are the accidents where it can be challenging to prove that the unidentified vehicle was at fault – or exists at all. Without some kind of corroborating evidence – video, perhaps, or additional witnesses – you and your attorney will carefully have to consider how to present your case.

If you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver in south Florida, you may feel like the unluckiest person in the world, but an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney may be able to help. The advice here can help you protect yourself and your rights in the event a driver injures you and flees the scene, but you’ll need to have a good car accident lawyer examine the details in any particular case:

1. Do not pursue the fleeing driver. You could make a bad situation much worse. Just don’t.

2. Get the best possible description of the driver and the vehicle.

3. Call the police immediately. Some hit-and-run drivers still get away, but with most drivers now carrying cell phones, fewer get away now than in the past.

4. Get medical attention for yourself and anyone else injured in the crash. Sometimes injuries are more serious than they seem initially; let a medical professional examine you right away.

5. You’ll have to inform your insurance company. When a suspect isn’t identified, insurers handle hit-and-run accidents just like uninsured motorist accidents. Be sure that you understand the provisions of your automobile insurance policy.

6. Consult with an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney. Your attorney can make sure that your insurance company is fulfilling its obligations. Your lawyer can also determine if you have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim – many hit-and-run victims do. If you are injured in any south Florida traffic accident – whether the other driver flees or remains – protect your rights and speak at once to an experienced Palm Beach car accident attorney.