Many states have now passed laws which ban texting and cell phone use while driving. Despite repeated efforts by legislators, Florida remains one of the few states that does not ban these dangerous driving behaviors, even though distracted driving has been linked to high instances of traffic accidents. However, public pressure has made texting or phoning while driving less socially acceptable. As well, a number of companies are stepping up to ban texting and driving among employees.
The Walt Disney Company, for example, banned its employees from texting and driving last November. Whenever an employee is on the clock, driving a Disney truck, or driving their own vehicle, that employee cannot text and drive. Employees caught violating the ban are subject to fines and may even be fired for non-compliance. Other Florida companies are expected to follow suit with similar bans.
In 2010, the trucking industry also placed a federal ban on texting and driving for all bus drivers and commercial truck drivers. Any truck driver or bus driver caught texting and driving anywhere in Florida or across the country may face criminal penalties and civil penalties. They are also liable to lose their jobs. Many trucking companies have also created strict rules against distracted driving for their truck drivers, above and beyond federal regulations.
According to the Strength in Numbers Fleet Benchmarking Study, trucking companies with strict distracted driving bans and severe penalties for non-compliance had lower rates of trucking accidents. Of the top eight trucking companies out of a total of 45 in the survey, six allowed a driver to be fired if caught texting and driving. The bottom 14 companies – the companies with the laxest rules and the highest accident rates – did not have such policies in place.
It is just common sense that companies are placing bans on distracted driving in Florida, even though there is no official ban in place in the state. Companies may be held liable in cases where a distracted driver causes a Florida pedestrian accident or traffic accident while driving and texting on company time. When a company institutes an internal ban, it is showing a commitment to preventing accidents. In the event of an accident, liability may rest more heavily with the truck driver if he or she violated a company ban.
If you have been injured in a Florida truck accident, contact the experienced and compassionate legal team at the Flaxman Law Group. Arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights and to ask questions about your case. The Flaxman Law Group has offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, so that we are always only a short drive away.