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October 10, 2017

Has Florida’s Texting Law Helped Stop Auto Negligence?

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Posted in DUI, DWI, Texting

Everyone knows that texting while driving is dangerous because it distracts the driver’s attention from the road. In fact, people who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash. It is so dangerous that it has even been referred to as Driving While Intoxticated. Almost 30% of accidents involve cell phone use (whether texting or making calls). On October 1, 2013, Florida enacted a law that bans texting while driving. But what has this law really accomplished? Its biggest problem is that it is a “secondary law.” This means that an officer can only give you a citation for texting while driving if you are stopped for some other violation, such as speeding or ignoring traffic signals. In other words, if a police officer see you driving and texting, but you are otherwise doing nothing wrong, there is nothing he can do about it. This is revealed by the fact that only about 1,500 citations have been issued since this law was enacted. That is pitiful. Police should be allowed to enforce the ban anytime they see someone texting and driving.  And the law doesn’t go far enough. It does not prohibit drivers from doing Google searches or reading things on the internet. They can even use mapquest while driving. All of these activities greatly distract the driver and make accidents more likely. I use my phone to make calls frequently while driving my car. While it would be inconvenient if such a law  passed, the safest way to reduce crashes would be to ban all cell phone use while driving. Years ago, there were some studies that suggested that banning cell phone use does not reduce the number of accidents. However, anyone who has used a cell phone while driving would have to admit that it causes some level of distraction, and anything that distracts a driver increases the likelihood of an accident.

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