Understanding Texting and Driving Laws in Florida

Reason for New Law

“I have to live the rest of my life without my daughter,” said Steve Augello, an activist for the “no texting while driving in Florida” law. Five years ago, Allie was involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision with another driver. Investigators concluded that the accident resulted due to the distraction of the other motorist who was texting and driving. Allie’s case is only one out of too many unfortunate cases resulting in personal injury or death due to the distraction of another driver. The U.S. Department of Transportation has revealed that in 2010, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle collisions due to these so-called “distracted drivers.” In 2011, this amount increased to a total of 416,000 people.

Scientists working for Direct Line auto insurance recently acknowledged that texting and driving could be more dangerous than driving under the influence. The research leading to this revelation included a simulator for the purpose of imitating a motor vehicle. Reaction times of drivers under the influence, and reaction times of drivers on their cell phones were compared. Specifically, the results yielded that reaction times of drivers on their cell phones is 30% slower than that of intoxicated drivers. Correspondingly, reaction times of drivers on their cell phones were 50% slower than that of regular drivers not under the influence and not on their cell phones.

It is undeniable that our society’s high interest for cell phones is playing a major role in the increase of accidents due to texting distractions. A cell phone this day and age is essentially a mini-computer. One can send emails, instant messages, texts, and more. With a majority of the states already banning text messaging while driving, it is not unusual that Florida has joined the no texting while driving bandwagon.

Clarity Regarding New Law

As of October 1, 2013, if a driver in Florida is suspected of committing a traffic violation while texting, said driver can be fined up to $60. In other words, a fine for texting while driving will only be imposed as a secondary offense when coupled with the suspicion of another traffic violation. The statute expressing this recent law is titled: “Wireless communications devices; prohibition.” The language used in the statute has the tendency to lead one to believe that the main issue is texting via cellphone while driving. Although cell phones are a part of the big problem, it cannot be ignored that there is a reason why the statute’s author used the broad term “wireless communications devices.” Thus, the statute supplies a definition for said term. A wireless communication device is any electronic device that can be held by hand and that serves as a portal for communication. It is true that cell phones win the gold medal for being the main problem, however, other devices such as I-Pad’s and mini-computers that can be held by hand and that serve as portals for communication, are also a part of the “distraction problem.”


The statute’s language expresses that no driver will be punished if the vehicle he is operating is parked or momentarily stopped (i.e., stationary). Thus, as previously referred to, only one that is simultaneously driving and texting, and deemed suspicious for committing some other traffic violation, is susceptible to punishment. Exceptions to the new law apply to law enforcement officials performing their duties and to persons communicating with law enforcement officials regarding suspicious activity. Also, one that is driving and receives information regarding an emergency, the weather, and/or traffic, is immune.

Repetition of Violation

The statute provides that if one is fined for more than one texting while driving violation within a five-year period, a moving violation will be imposed. A moving violation allocates points to the driving record of such violator.

Proving Cause of Accident

The billing record of a wireless user can only be used against him in the event of a motor vehicle accident caused by him while texting and driving, which results in personal injury or death. These records would be used in the legal proceeding as a source of evidence to prove the cause of accident.
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Crowded Malls Can Lead to Slip and Falls

Not too long ago, there were crowds of people waiting outside of stores and malls for Black Friday sales. News stations did not fail to report the rowdiness created by these crowds. From cutting in line to pushing; short tempers, violence, and injuries have unfortunately become part of what we call Black Friday.

The more crowded a place is, the more there is a chance that an accident will occur. Holiday shoppers encountered heavily crowded malls and stores. What happens when someone decides to buy a drink from the mall food court and spills some of that drink inside of a store that you happen to be walking in? If this slippery substance goes unnoticed and unmodified by store personnel, you’re chances of injury has increased. What do you do in the event that you encounter this slippery substance or any other tripping hazard and injure yourself because of a fall?

Popular crowded shopping areas in South Florida include:

• Sawgrass Mills Mall (City of Sunrise in Broward County)
• Aventura Mall (City of Aventura in Miami-Dade County)
• The Galleria Mall (City of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County)
• Coral Square Mall (City of Coral Springs in Broward County)
• Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (City of Hollywood in Broward County)
• South Beach (City of Miami Beach in Dade County)
• Dolphin Mall (City of Sweetwater in Miami-Dade)
• Town Center Mall (City of Boca Raton in Palm Beach County)
• City Place (Palm Beach County)

Premise Liability

Slip and fall injuries occurring inside of a business establishment fall under what is called premises liability. It is important to understand how the law functions with regard to premise liability. You should never think that these things cannot and will not happen to you. Unfortunately, slip and falls occur quite frequently.

Business Invitee

The status of a person that goes into a store or mall is called business invitee. For the most part, a business invitee enters a store because he will buy items (i.e., conduct business dealings). The premises owner owes certain duties to a business invitee including: keeping the premises in a safe condition, conducting inspections to look for hidden dangers, and warning invitees of known and existing dangers. Thus, if you walk into that store wherein another business invitee dropped some liquid, and consequently fall and obtain injuries, you may have a valid claim against the store owner because a duty to keep the premises safe for you and other invitees existed.

Protect Your Claim

If you are injured in a Florida shopping mall or store, you must take certain steps to protect your claim. The most important thing is always one’s health. In the absence of obvious injury, such as a broken arm, it is typical that one would like to avoid going to the emergency room or doctor. It is important to understand that even if you feel no pain immediately after the fall, this does not mean that in the later days your body will not feel pain. If treatment is delayed, it may seem as if the incident and injury was not serious. Thus, even when the adrenaline caused by the accident may hide the true impact received by your body, it is important to seek medical attention regardless.
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