Disconnect from the Texts: The Legislature Catches up With Taylor, Warren & Weidner on October 1, 2013

Texting & DrivingWant to quadruple your chances of getting in a car wreck? Just use your cell phone while you drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people using cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident.

“Texting while driving is probably the most dangerous thing drivers do with their cell phones, and that’s why we always fully investigate cell phone usage when one of our clients is seriously injured in a car wreck,” says Phillip Warren, of Taylor, Warren & Weidner, P.A.

“We want to encourage drivers to disconnect from the texts while driving. The consequences are just too great,” says Keith Weidner.

The law banning texting will take effect October, 1, 2013, and everyone hopes the new law will enhance public safety on the roadways around Milton, Pensacola, and surrounding areas by making the driver’s billing records admissible in any proceeding against the driver for texting while driving.

“The irony of it is that we’ve been using cell-phone records for years to show a driver wasn’t paying attention when he ran through a red light while on the phone, so it’s nice to see our legislature acknowledge this sort of evidence ought to be used,” says Phil Hall, an attorney who is of counsel with Taylor, Warren & Weidner, P.A.

The ban on texting while driving goes into effect on October, 1, 2013.

“But if you or somebody you know has been in a wreck before then, you should know that our firm has always investigated claims that drivers were talking on the phone, texting, or tweeting while behind the wheel. We will continue to do that,” says Stephanie Taylor, the firm’s most senior law partner.

The two key provision of the law read as follows:

  • A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. As used in this section, the term “wireless communications device” means any handheld device used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet or any communications service as defined in s. 812.15 and that allows text communications. For the purposes of this paragraph, a motor vehicle that is stationary is not being operated and is not subject to the prohibition in this paragraph.
  • [I]n the event of a crash resulting in death or personal injury, a user’s billing records for a wireless communications device or the testimony of or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such messages may be admissible as evidence in any proceeding to determine whether a violation of paragraph (a) has been committed.

If you believe texting or cell-phone use was responsible for a death or injury, call the attorneys at Taylor, Warren and Weidner, PA at 866-483-4899 for a free consultation. or visit our website at www.twwlawfirm.com.