If you are distracted while driving for just five seconds at a rate of 55 mph, you’ve just traveled the length of a football field. Is the distraction more important than your life? Although Florida has established a law making it illegal to text and drive; it is not sufficient enough to discourage drivers from doing so. Inattentive driving has become one of the biggest issues in the nation. There have been many fatal accidents due to this issue. Florida was the 42nd state to incorporate a law on distracted driving. Have the number of fatal deaths and accidents decreased? While the state has the option of amending the law, drivers must reevaluate their decisions and be observant of their surroundings. How many deaths have to occur until people wake up and put their phones down?
Although there are many different types of distractions to driving such as eating, talking to passengers, reading, adjusting the radio, the biggest one of them all is being on a cellphone and texting. The types of distractions are placed under three categories: manual, which consists of taking your hands off the wheel; visual, taking your eyes off the road; and cognitive, which is just completely taking your mind off driving. The Florida Department of Transportation has developed the Put it Down campaign; to raise awareness about distracted driving and how it affects others around you. As technology continues to advance, drivers are becoming distracted more rapidly. While society may not believe the youth will abide to stricter laws; more adults are becoming distracted while driving fidgeting with their cellphones.
Currently, Florida’s texting and driving law is a secondary offense, which means that a driver must be pulled over for breaking two first offense driving laws or having a wreck. In the recent years, there have been no more than 400 tickets which have been issued for this offense. Many citizens of the sunshine state and myself find the law to be ineffective. Drivers are a danger to others when texting and driving; however, officers are unable to issue a ticket before the third offense. After being pulled over three times for texting and driving, the person will be charged a minimum of thirty dollars. I agree with the citizens to incorporate a much stricter law. Representatives of Florida must make an executive decision which generates fewer collisions.
In June of 2015, the state of Florida and GEICO partnered together, creating a whopping 64 safe locations for drivers to pull over when becoming distracted. Each month at least 17 lives are claimed because of distracted driver in the state of Florida. On March 5, 2019 Senate Bill 76 which bans texting while driving will go into effective making it a first offense traffic infraction. By incorporating hands-free driving, I believe the highways will be become safer statewide.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Distracted Driving
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Distracted Driving
- Distraction.gov – Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving
- AAA Newsroom – Texting While Driving
- PubMed – The Effects of Text Messaging on Young Drivers: A Review