Texting and Driving Revisited in this Legislative Session

State Senator Maria Sachs of Delray Beach is attempting to get the Florida Senate to beef up the law regarding texting and driving. She believes (and correctly so) that the current law is ineffective to deter drivers from engaging in this activity.

Senator Sachs states the current Florida law is too difficult for officers to enforce because it is a secondary offense which means that drivers can only be stopped for another offense witnessed by the officer. For example, before an officer could stop and ticket a driver for texting he is required to observe the driver engage in a different moving violation such as speeding or running a stop sign.

Sachs’ proposal (S.B. 246) proposes to change this. Her proposal would allow police to pull people over drivers if they see them texting or surfing the web while driving. It would also double texting fines in school zones.

Most other states have much stronger laws prohibiting texting and driving. But just a handful treat it as a secondary offense like Florida.

The bottom line is that the telecommunications lobby, particularly in Tallahassee, has a lot of money and therefore usually gets its way. There are just too many legislators who are more concerned about pleasing lobbyists with the ultimate goal of making sure they are reelected. Although this is a significant safety issue for every Floridian, you can expert no significant legislation to strengthen what is obviously a very weak law.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Bike Helmets fail to prevent a lot of Head Injuries

A common misconception among parents is that wearing a bicycle helmet will protect their child from serious head injuries. We all see kids motoring along the sidewalk or street on bicycles, skateboards, scooters, etc., many of whom are dutifully wearing the helmets their mothers bought for them.

While these helmets can certainly protect against a penetrating impact to the skull which might result in a fracture (for example), they do not protect your kids from common head injuries that may cause long-term problems. According to a 2013 report on youth sports-related concussions by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, “there is limited evidence that current helmet designs reduce the risk of sports-related concussions” — minor traumatic head injuries that have been tied, at least in adults, to long-term neurological problems including depression, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (a neurodegenerative disease) and chronic cognitive impairment.

It really should not be surprising that children bicycle helmets don’t protect against concussions. Football helmets in the National Football league – the best engineered helmets available – fail to protect elite athletes from concussions and micro-concussions. A young child riding a bike or a motorized skateboard at 10 miles per hour is capable of striking his head on a sidewalk with as much or even more force as a professional football player tackling another.

The point is that parents need to re-evaluate their thinking, particularly when they allow their child to operate a motorized toy such as a scooter or a skateboard, capable of speeds upwards of 10 miles per hour. While requiring your child to wear a helmet may help in some instances, it does not adequately protect them against concussions which can be particularly damaging to children whose brains are still developing.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Boating Fatality

In yet another tragic boating accident, a Hialeah man and father of four young girls, died after his jet boat collided with a dock and seawall near Pelican Harbor in Miami, Florida.

It appears that the operator of the jet boat lost control near Pelican Harbor just off the 79th Street Causeway.

The decedent was ferrying friends from Pelican Harbor marina to a small island nearby when he hit a dock on the island, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. After impacting the dock, the jet boat slammed into the seawall near the marina near the 79th Street Causeway at a high rate of speed. The operator who was the only one on the vessel at the time, was thrown from the boat. He was later found by drivers on the bottom of Biscayne Bay.

In 2013, Miami-Dade had four fatalities according to the Fish and Wildlife Commission. There were 104 boating accidents and 50 injuries. The number of fatalities in 2014 is even higher.

Boating accidents in South Florida are a huge problem. Between the effects of alcohol and the inexperience of some boaters, the rate of the boating accidents seems to be increasing with the passing of each year. For some reason, many boaters seem to believe that it is acceptable to operate their boat in Biscayne Bay while consuming a six-pack. The marine patrol needs to consider stricter enforcement of Boating under the Influence (BUI) laws. In a similar vein, maybe the State of Florida should consider an advertising campaign to remind boaters to not engage in what should be an obviously dangerous activity — operating your boat while drunk. Also the Coast Guard Auxillary should be commended for their educational project concerning boating safety.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

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