omg stop txtng!
October 1, 2013, Florida statute 316.305, “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” went into effect.
“While many drivers admit to using a cell phone while driving, most thinking it is important to eliminate its use to improve safety on the road. Cell phones have added to the distractions for drivers,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.
Nine out of ten Americans believe texting while driving should be outlawed. Two thirds admit to doing it according to a Harris Interactive Survey.
The new texting while driving ban is considered a secondary violation meaning a driver must be pulled over for another violation such as speeding or running a stop sign before they receive a fine. The law does not apply to drivers stopped in vehicles say at a traffic light or in a traffic jam.
First time offenders receive a $30.00 fine. Second and subsequent violations committed within a five year period are considered a “moving violation” receiving a $60.00 fine and assessing three points to their driver’s license.
Why not ban cellphone use while driving altogether? Many Florida officials agree the ban is watered down, however it took several years before being approved by the legislature. Florida was the last of four states in the U.S. to ban texting, emailing and instant messaging, (IM) while driving. Most would like to see it moved to a primary offense but agree this is a good start.
Below are some startling statistics regarding cell phone use while driving.
The National Safety Council reviewed 180 fatal crashes from 2009-2011, of those 52 percent involved cell phones. They believe the number is higher but the data can be difficult to accurately report because drivers are not forthcoming about their accident or they experience memory loss.
Florida’s new law will help to clarify the data. In accidents, where serious injuries and death has occurred, officials now can obtain cell phone records.
“At any given daylight moment across America approximately 660,000 are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
They also found on average, your eyes are diverted 4.6 seconds to read or send a text, if you are traveling at 55 mph you would have driven the distance of a football field.
To put the dangers of texting in perspective, Car and Driver magazine conducted a test and found texting and reading a text resulted in slower reaction times for drivers than someone intoxicated behind the wheel. Texting while driving impairs drivers from maintaining lane position and proper speed.
Self-control and a commitment to reliable driving are the solutions to keeping it safe behind the wheel. The following are some tips from GreatFlorida Insurance to halt the dangerous practice of texting while driving.
· Lead by example, if you stop using your phone in the car, chances are your kids will follow suit.
· Declare your teen’s vehicle a no phone zone. Draft up an agreement and have you and your child sign it.
· Install an app designed to keep drivers off their phone such as AT&T drive mode, DriveSafe.ly, tXtBlocker, Textecution, It Can Wait or Agent.