Distracted driving remains a huge safety concern in Florida Did you know that 45,000 Floridians were involved in car crashes last year caused by distracted driving? Over those 45,000 distracted driving accidents, 214 people lost their lives.
Florida’s law prohibiting texting and driving has not had the impact Florida legislators had hoped when they passed the bill nearly 2 years ago. The no texting law is toothless in that police can’t stop a driver for texting per se. Texting while driving is a secondary offense which means drivers have to be stopped for other offenses before they can be ticketed with texting.
Five texting bills, including primary enforcement, were introduced in the 2016 Florida legislative session. Not one of them got a hearing.
With the 2016 holiday season well underway, the problem is only getting worse. Pinellas County drivers are not only distracted by text messages, emails, and phone calls but the usual hustle and bustle of the holidays. Now that the snowbirds have arrived, the roads are clogging up as they always do and we are seeing a spike in serious traffic accidents, especially in Pinellas County.
It should be common sense to avoid texting while driving but for those who can’t resist the temptation, here are a few tips:
- If you’re driving and alone in the car, shut the phone off and put it in the backseat or the trunk until you’ve arrived at your destination. That way you won’t be tempted to turn on the phone.
- If you’re driving with passengers, give the phone to a responsible adult and ask them to hold it for you until you’ve finished the drive.
- Don’t drive if you’re overly tired, stressed, or in a rush. Your reflexes may not be as good as when you are fresh or relaxed.
- Plan ahead and try to avoid the most congested roads such as US 19 and I-275 during peak rush hour times.
I was thinking of adding a 5th suggestion but it should be obvious-don’t drink and drive.