The road to recovery following a catastrophic accident is often long and difficult. Such was the case for Florida State Trooper Carlos Rosario, injured back in 2017 and finally returning to work again on January 9.
The incident made headlines in March 2017 when a distracted driver lost control of a vehicle and slammed into Rosario while he was conducting a traffic stop. Rosario, working a speed detail on the Dolphin Expressway, was on the shoulder of the road and was thrown around 30 feet from his car by the impact. His injuries were critical and involved his face, spine and lower extremities. Over his long recuperative period, Rosario underwent “multiple surgeries, learned to walk, talk and rely on others for basic life needs.”
The driver in this case was arrested and was ultimately given probation for his role in the accident. But apparently he’s in good company; Florida ranked second for distracted driving in a 2017 study. The study, based on data gathered from the motion-sensing app EverDrive, a product of the online insurance firm Everquote Inc., took into account speeding, aggressive turning, sudden acceleration, hard braking and other movement during the time that a driver’s phone was in use. The study’s findings were shocking but predictable. During the 30-day focus period for the study, 92 percent of drivers around the country with cell phones used them while their cars were in motion. Only Louisiana’s drivers scored worse.
Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ compiled data suggests that the study might be right on point. In 2016, the department notes that more than 50,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving throughout the state. That amounts to around five crashes each hour. Distracted driving led to upwards of 3,500 serious injuries and 233 fatalities on Florida’s roadways that year. FHP estimates that those stats may be too low. Under-reporting of information about distracted driving is the rule, not the exception, since many drivers are not forthcoming in admitting that they were texting or playing on Facebook when they caused an accident.
Texting while driving is currently illegal in Florida, but it is only enforced as a secondary offense, meaning that police cannot pull a driver over solely for texting while driving. However, they can cite the driver texting while driving if they stop the driver for other infractions.
Florida legislators are looking to change all that with Senate Bill 76, which comes back up in 2019 for vote. The bill looks to “prohibit drivers from texting, reading data and talking on handheld devices” while operating a moving vehicle.
If you or someone you love has been affected by a texting or distracted driver, you have a right to collect damages for any injuries that occurred as a result. Contact our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney as soon as possible following your accident to set up a consultation and review of your case’s details.