A 33-year-old construction worker whose wife was out of town had consumed three Miller Lite beers in 90 minutes the night of July 2, 2012. Later that night, his Dodge Ram struck a stopped car at the intersection of U.S. Route 19 and Main Street in New Port Richey, causing a four-car pileup, according to the Tampa Bay Times. While the New Port Richey police report said that an officer noticed the man’s “dazed expression, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, along with the ‘obvious odor’ of booze on his breath,” the report also said the construction worker admitted he had been “texting and not paying attention.”
“It was a perfect storm,” New Port Richey police Chief James Steffens told the Times in regards to the combination of texting behind the wheel while intoxicated. The Times also noted that tests showed blood alcohol levels of 0.15 and 0.146, or nearly twice the legal limit for intoxication in Florida. “This is a very good example of something being 100 percent preventable.”
The Times noted that texting while driving “remains legal in Florida, but the issue has been hotly debated.” Steffens told the Times, “I think it will be for a long time to come.” The video above shows Florida State Representative Irv Slosberg saying it was time for a texting ban following a fatal accident last September.
While we are still waiting for the Sunshine State to enact a texting ban similar to what many other states across the country have in place, Steffens pointed out that a texting driver can still be charged with careless driving. This accident makes us recall the study by Car and Driver that found texting while driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving, but the danger is clearly increased when both of those factors are involved. Drunk driving or texting while behind the wheel are both dangerous activities on their own, but the danger for other motorists is increased exponentially when a motorist is doing both at the same time.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a car accident caused by a drunk or texting driver, contact our firm to see how our Orlando personal injury attorneys may be able to help.
Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers