A Girl Scout troop from Jacksonville, Florida has donated the money they earned from selling cookies to an effort to stop parents from texting while driving through the school’s pick up or drop off lines. The girls paid for the creation and placement of two “Hang Up Before You Pick Up” signs near the driveways at St. Joseph Catholic School. The girls hope to curb the dangerous practice of parents talking and texting on cell phones while navigating through pedestrian and vehicular traffic. As safety patrol members at the school’s busy intersection of Loretto Road and Old St. Augustine Road, the Girl Scouts have witnessed the dangers first hand.
The Governor signs the new texting while driving ban
The Girl Scout’s move was made while Gov. Rick Scott was still deciding whether or not to sign a new bill banning texting while driving in Florida. The bill had already passed the Florida legislature and was signed into law by Scott on May 28, 2013. Under the new law, texting while driving is illegal and an offender is subject to a fine of $30 on their first citation. After their second citation, the offender is subject to a fine of $60 and three points on the driver’s record. The law also gives the police the ability to obtain the driver’s cell phone records if the driver was texting and a serious accident occurs.
However, many have criticized the law for not being strong enough. This is because the law makes texting only a secondary traffic offense, meaning police cannot pull over somebody just because they saw them texting. The police would have to first have another reason for stopping the motorist, such as speeding or running a red light.
The affects of a traffic violation when it causes a serious car accident
The Florida ban on texting while driving will also affect how motor vehicle accident cases are litigated. A traffic violation does not create liability for the resulting car accident. For example, a driver could pass a stop sign and still not be responsible for an accident when their car is hit in the rear by a speeding vehicle. However, a traffic violation is evidence of negligence, and can prove to be the determining cause for an accident. A driver who is cited for texting while driving will be more likely to be found responsible for causing the accident.
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