Sinclair Law

Sinclair Law Asserts Smartphone Use in a Car Isn't Smart

Distracted driving can mean huge losses inside and outside of the court room.


Melbourne, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/01/2016 --Many states across the nation have been cracking down on drivers who operate cell phones while driving, but Florida isn't one of them. However, it's important for Floridians to remember that even though many municipalities have not adopted strict penalties and fines in association with vehicular cell phone use, drivers are still liable for accidents they cause when they are talking on their smartphone, texting, or reading a text. In fact, if individuals are injured because a driver has been using their phone while driving, they have a strong case to present in court.

The danger associated with driving while using a cell phone is something most states nationwide are taking seriously. Using a phone compromises the driver's ability to focus completely on the road. In fact, back in 2011, more than 20% of all auto accidents were linked to cell phone operation. For those wondering how many accidents that involves—it's in the neighborhood of 1.3 million. More than a million car accidents could realistically have been prevented if the driver had not been talking or texting on their phone. Just last year, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 214 people lost their lives in the state because of distracted driving.

Drivers who operate cell phones are liable for careless driving. However, liability can also extend to that driver's employer if they are on the job when the collision occurs. Employers can face serious legal repercussions if their driver was involved with a work-related call or a work-related email or text. In some states, parents of teen drivers can also be held liable if they purchased the cell phone for their child who was then involved in a collision. Even though Florida's laws may be lax in comparison with other states when it comes to cell phone usage in cars, people who are injured by careless drivers definitely have a strong case to make in court.

Earlier this year, legislation was introduced in Florida to tamp down strongly on drivers who text. As statistics become increasingly grim when it comes to cell phone use and car accidents, laws will need to address the problem. Nevertheless, it's important for victims of car accidents to remember that even though cell phone use in a car is legal, drivers are still liable for their careless driving in Florida whether they're talking on a phone, adjusting their radio, or drinking their coffee. Using a cell phone while driving falls under the umbrella of careless driving, and that simply isn't smart because it isn't safe.

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