Texting and Driving
Nearly 80% of crashes happen as a result of driver inattention. Distracted driving is inattention that happens “when a driver’s attention is diverted from the driving task to focus on a non-driving activity” (Callaway, et al., 2014). Although there are many ways that drivers can be distracted on the roads, cell phones have become a big problem. Making phone calls as well as sending or reading texts or emails reduces a driver’s ability to make safe driving choices, which puts themselves and others at risk. Cell phone use is cognitively engaging, interactive and occurs over long periods of time which has made it a topic of high concern for traffic safety professionals.
Did You Know?
Between 2007 and 2012, the number of text messages sent has increased by 900%. Nearly half of all texting adults have sent a text while driving. Smartphone owners aged 18-24 send an average of 67 and receive about 60 texts per day, approximately double the number sent and received by adults aged 25 to 34 years old.
Florida Texting Law
Florida has implemented a ban on texting while driving with the intent to improve the roadway safety for everyone. It is a secondary offense, meaning that if you are pulled over for a different violation then you can also be ticketed for texting. However, there has been some urging to make the laws stricter due to the danger involved in texting while driving. In a public opinion poll performed by the National Safety Council, 73% of the respondents believe there should be stricter enforcement and stiffer penalties when it comes to texting and driving (Lane, 2014). At the present, the Florida texting ban only places restrictions on manually texting or emailing, however, talking on the phone is distracting and causes thousands of accidents, too.
Prevent Distracted Driving
Texting and driving is dangerous, do your part.
- Make a personal commitment to drive without touching your phone
- Turn off your phone or turn it on silent so you can eliminate the temptation to answer it
- If you're in a car with someone who uses a phone while driving, speak up! Don't put yourself at risk for their bad habit
- If you find out that you're talking to someone who is driving while texting or talking to you, tell them to contact you later once they aren't driving.
Callaway, J., Rushing, S., & Stallmann, A. (2014). Fatal Distraction: The Impact of Driver Distraction on U.S. Motor Vehicle Mortality. http://www.rgare.com/knowledgecenter/Documents/FatalDistraction.pdf Lane, Kathy. (2014). Public ready for stiffer penalties for texting while driving. http://www.nsc.org/learn/about/Pages/public-ready-for-stiffer-penalties-for-texting-while-driving.aspx "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law". (2013). http://www.flsenate.gov/laws/statutes/2013/316.305