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State has no law aimed at reducing Florida car accidents caused by distracted driving; but travelers beware

Planning a road trip this summer? Then don’t forget to pack a list of state and local regulations regarding text messaging and using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Currently, Florida and South Carolina are the only two states without laws aimed at reducing the dangers of traffic accidents caused by text messaging and cell phone use.

Our Port St. Lucie injury lawyers urge drivers considering a summer road trip to know the rules of the road. And we remind you that the best way to ensure compliance with whatever law happens to be in effect — as well as the safety of you and your passengers — is to refrain from text messaging or using a cell phone while driving.

MSNBC reports that the patchwork of laws enacted in recent years will leave those on a road trip open to fines ranging from $20 to $150. In every case, knowledge of the law is the motorist’s responsibility.

“Drivers are still responsible for knowing the cell phone laws that apply in each state,” said AAA spokesperson Nancy White.

In some states, motorists may be subjected to more than one law. For example, Illinois outlaws text messaging while driving but the City of Chicago prohibits all use of hand-held cell phones.

Florida is one of the only states — perhaps the only state — that has both failed to pass a distracted driving law and passed legislation prohibiting city and county governments from enacting their own safety measures.

The Governors Highway Safety Association provides a comprehensive list of distracted driving laws in each state:

-Eight states ban the use of hand-held cell phones: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington.

-Twenty-eight states ban the use of cell phones by young drivers.

-Thirty states ban text messaging while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 6,000 people are killed and more than 500,000 are injured in distracted driving accidents each year. Cell phone use and text messaging are responsible for a large number of the crashes. Other forms of distracted driving include eating, drinking, smoking, talking to passengers, grooming, applying makeup, reading or using in-car electronics.

Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.

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