Texting and Driving? – Think Again.

Injured car passenger calling an ambulance, in the background unconscious car driver.

We have all heard the message that texting and driving don’t mix. It’s common knowledge that the practice is extremely dangerous, but what are the legal ramifications if a Florida driver does choose to text while behind the wheel? You may be surprised to learn that the Sunshine State’s texting ban is considered weak compared to most of the country.

The most glaring difference is how the ban is enforced. Let’s say you’re driving down a city street and you quickly respond to a text from your mother about dinner tonight. After all, you can’t wait to tell her you want steak instead of chicken, right? There’s a police cruiser next to you, and after your press ‘send’ you and the officer lock eyes. Unless another reason exists to pull you off the roadway, that officer may not do so. Another infraction must be visible first.

This is a blessing for text-happy drivers – but it’s also a curse that can make them more complacent and lead to safety concerns. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, a car traveling 40 miles per hour will travel 290 feet in a mere five seconds. Stare at the phone for that amount of time, and you will lose all perspective of what is happening on the road. Should a child or animal run across the street, it’s likely you will not brake in time to avoid them – and loss of life is never worth a text.

Phone records aren’t usually examined unless a serious accident occurs. However, if you are caught speeding in a school zone and the officer also witnesses you tapping away at the phone, two points will be added to those incurred by the primary offense. Be involved in a crash caused by texting, and expect six extra points on that license. As you can imagine, adding texting to an existing offense can quickly lead to the loss of a license. While the first offense leads to just a warning, if you are caught again the points could be even higher.

Whether Florida will crack down further on texting remains to be seen. There is definitely some uproar in the legislature regarding the relative ease of penalties levied to those texting and driving in Florida. Proponents of a tougher ban argue that the mere act of texting while behind the wheel should be cause for enforcement. Indeed, most other states agree and have passed tougher laws.

What will it take to keep text-happy fingers away from phones while in transit? Consider the ultimate cost when you are tempted to answer that message: loss of life. It could be yours or another person’s life that hangs in the balance – all because you absolutely could not wait to press ‘send.’

For answers to questions about texting and driving and for legal advice, contact the Coleman Law Group at 727-214-0400. Their attorneys offer a free consultation and will explain your legal options.

Response to Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has left us reeling. Yes, we are hurting. We are mothers, aunts, friends; the thought that a gunman could open fire on the children we hold most dear while they attend school is an unbelievable horror.

We do not shake our heads and wonder What can be done? No, we do not ask questions that are swallowed by the air. We demand something be done. One more life lost because of a war-ready weapon in the hands of an unstable individual is too many. We look to our firm’s motto, where power meets passion, for inspiration to act. It’s time to use our collective voices as a powerful, passionate catalyst of change.

We, the lawyers of the Coleman Law Group, suggest the following course of action:

Decide what you believe – and fight for it. Do you believe the United States Constitution should be followed to the exact letter? Read the second amendment. Now, take a close look at your belief in the all-encompassing right to bear arms. Remember that when the constitution was written, people armed themselves with muskets – not semi-automatic weapons capable of mass killing.

Take that realization and avoid marring it with extreme views. Americans are historically open to ‘gray area’ compromises. We’re a melting pot, after all, and that has meant a merging of opinions and beliefs since our country’s inception. If you believe that no one in the United States should own any type of gun, rethink your stance. That’s not going to happen. The opposite view that we are entitled to every type of firearm is misguided as well. Decide upon a reasonable point of view.

What is not reasonable is detailed in a recent article printed by the New York Times found here.  In Florida, an AR15 is easier to acquire than a handgun. We find this to be grossly negligent. These guns should be difficult to obtain, not a near-impulse purchase. And people who have been shown to be a possible danger to themselves and others should not be able to purchase them.

To us, this just makes sense. Do you agree? If so, make sure those who can change the course of history hear you. Join a group like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and become an advocate for what is right and what is reasonable.

Once you begin, take heart in the fight. Remember that commonsense regulatory actions have happened before and that there is reason to believe they can be enacted again. Do you recall the Federal Assault Weapons Ban? The ten-year proclamation expired in 2004, but it made the use and ownership of semi-automatic weapons prohibitive for civilians.

We of the Coleman Law Group pledge to join our voices with yours to enact real change – one that keeps what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from ever occurring again. Let’s get started.

A Study of Lawful, Nonviolent Protest

This February, as we reflect upon Black History Month, we are reminded of the ability of a group to enact real change. Led by Martin Luther King Jr., African Americans joined together in nonviolent protest – and found civil rights victory. This example is extremely relevant today.

We propose looking at Black History as a blueprint for current and future movements. Many issues plague our modern-day communities. There’s school violence. Gun control (or lack of it). Opioid abuse. What has no place in your world? Answer the question and find like-minded Americans to take up the cause with you. Unity is a major impetus for change. We believe that those who agree may move mountains. Dr. King showed us that it’s possible.

There are many pros to nonviolent protest as a means to a peaceful end. These include (but are not limited to):

Sparking a national discourse – Humans seek a sense of community. It’s the primal reason we seek to establish families and to surround ourselves with others who believe as we do. When Dr. King became a leader in the Civil Rights movement, black Americans viewed him as someone who would speak for them. With Dr. King at the helm, they gained the confidence to follow him and peacefully picket, march and protest. America took notice. How could it not?

A reasonable way to join a movement – Violence should never be condoned. And nonviolent protest is arguably far more effective anyway. When thousands of people believe the same truth that you do, you are seen as more pervasive than, for example, an extremist whose views are voiced by few zealots. Having many people in agreement makes even those who may not have agreed with your views in the past stop and ask the obvious question: If so many people believe this, could it perhaps be true? This naturally leads to a re-examination of beliefs and values.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. Dr. King said that – and we can’t help but believe that it’s a lot easier to take that first step when there are others taking it with you. Seek out those who also strive for change but are not sure where to begin. Become a leader and offer a voice to the emotion, if you so choose. And remember the power that a person like Martin Luther King, Jr. can have to peacefully change the course of a nation.  

Dr. King famously remarked that he chose love over hate. By focusing on the positive ramifications of protest and by doing so in a peaceful manner, his actions, and the action of those who followed him, serve as a model for future campaigns.

The Coleman Law Group is proud to have Constance Coleman at its helm. Constance is an African American lawyer who practices with compassion and focus. She believes in justice and the ability of groups of like-minded people to find it in a peaceful manner. Discover more about the Coleman Law Group at: www.thecolemanlawgroup.com

10 Tips for Driving Safely This Holiday Season

driving safely

Welcome to the holidays – full of friends, festivities and fender benders. Driving safely is obviously a yearlong goal, but during this time of extra merriment, it makes sense to take extra care out on the roads. Want to avoid having to ask Santa for car accident assistance this Christmas?

Follow these tips for driving safely during the holiday season.

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What Should I Bring to my Personal Injury Case Consultation?

personal injury case consultation

 
Before you head to that personal injury case consultation, take a deep breath. You’ve been through a great deal. Any time a person suffers an injury, it’s a jarring experience – but there is a way to lessen the stress. The number one thing you can do to keep that personal injury episode from defining you is to prepare for your personal injury case consultation. Here’s how. Continue reading

Car Accident Lawsuit – Is it Really Worth my Time?

 
An auto accident sets a long list of inconveniences into motion. There’s repair to the automobile, which can be a headache. Health issues from the accident can make the idea of filing a car accident lawsuit exhausting. Take a deep breath and pick up the phone anyway. Call a reputable auto accident attorney. He or she will be able to counsel you regarding whether proceeding with a car accident lawsuit is a sound idea or just a waste of time. Continue reading

10 biggest mistakes after a car accident that can affect your claim

after a car accident

 

1 – Failing to call the police

For a person who has never been in an accident, it can be a stressful event and you may wonder, “Should I call the police?” The answer is always “yes!”  It is normal to feel a little uncomfortable about calling the police after a car accident, but it is necessary to document what happened and to make sure information is exchanged.  If, for example, the other driver gives you the wrong information or lacks insurance, you need to know right away so that the police can get involved in enforcing your rights.

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The Irma Aftermath Checklist

Irma Aftermath

 
When the last squall quieted and the final advisory ceased, Hurricane Irma left a mess in her wake – along with thousands of Floridians wondering who is liable for the cleanup. The storm is past; the damage is done. The next steps a homeowner takes can mean the difference between a speedy recovery and a painful learning experience. Find answers to common post-storm questions below. Continue reading

Slip and Fall Accidents – What You Should Know

Slip and Fall Accidents

 
When are slip and fall accidents cause for legal action? –When they occur due to gross negligence. Look at the issue this way: if those tasked with public safety do not take proper measures to prevent injury, we are all at risk. Consider the example shared below. Though health is priceless, legal action can intervene in such cases to at least make the situation at least a bit more bearable for the victim. Continue reading

Six Common Misconceptions About a Car Accident Lawsuit

car accident lawsuit

 
Some of the most common types of car accidents stand as fitting metaphors for how a car accident lawsuit can transpire. The well planned-out lawsuit is like the ‘barely a scratch’ snafu that is resolved nearly painlessly. Another scenario – like a rear-end bash – seems an open and shut case, but there can be more than meets the eye, and proceedings can be longer than first anticipated. And then there’s the complicated wreck that drags on and on in the courtroom, long after the jaws of life saved the ones involved. Continue reading