The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has launched a new campaign to prevent distracted driving accidents. In conjunction with GEICO, FDOT has created 64 “Safe Phone Zones,” where drivers can pull over and use their phones. If you haven’t seen the new blue signs for safe zones yet, you will soon. They are mainly placed near rest areas, welcome centers and turnpike service plazas. These signs and safe zones are meant to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving while encouraging drivers to pull over before using their phone.
While it is not clear if motorists will use these safe zones, it is apparent that distracted driving is a serious and growing problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 424,000 people were injured in distracted related accidents in the year 2013. That is an increase from the 421,000 people injured in distracted driver accidents the previous year. Read the rest »
It may not be the strongest texting-while-driving law in the nation, but Governor Rick Scott has finally signed a bill that officially bans the practice in the state of Florida. After years of fits and starts, Florida has now become the 41st state that has a law on the books banning texting-while-driving.
Critics of the law say that it doesn’t go far enough, while many supporters look at the ban as a critical stepping-stone for potentially stronger distracted driving laws in the future. As the current law stands, texting-while-driving is a secondary offense. In other words, Florida law enforcement can’t pull over drivers for texting-while-driving alone, but can cite them if they have been pulled over for another infraction like speeding or reckless driving. Read the rest »
It was in 2002 that the Florida Legislature first considered a bill that would have restricted texting while driving. Flash forward to 2013, and the state legislature is still considering whether to ban texting while driving.
There have been dozens of bills introduced that have proposed to restrict texting while driving and cellphone usage on Florida’s roads and highways — and all of them have been shot down. Florida is still one of only 13 states that have no restrictions regarding texting and driving. Read the rest »
With traffic fatalities up four percent in Florida so far this year, Gov. Rick Scott has called for top state highway officials to take another look at texting and driving.
For the past several years, the Florida state legislature has failed to pass any laws that ban — or even limit — the practice. Scott made the announcement that he’d like state officials to complete a texting while driving study after the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) director delivered a new report to the Florida Cabinet about the dramatic rise in traffic fatalities in Florida — up from 1,866 in 2011 to 1,958 people so far this year. Read the rest »
Wireless provider AT&T is urging all Americans to take the pledge to stop texting while driving — and then join others on Sept. 19 to make that a lifelong commitment.
As part of its “It Can Wait” public awareness campaign, AT&T, its employees, and supporters are urging all drivers to go to www.itcanwait.com to take a no texting-and-driving pledge and then to reaffirm that promise with others via Twitter (#itcanwait) and Facebook.
AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson said that the goal behind the campaign is to save lives by preventing distracted driving auto accidents. “I hear from far too many people whose lives have been forever changed by a texting-while-driving accident, and together, we want to spread the word about how deadly a single text can be. Texting and driving should be as unacceptable as drinking and driving.” Read the rest »
Florida cannot continue to allow drivers of all ages to use cell phones and text message while driving a vehicle. That is the message federal safety investigators issued December 13 in asking that all states ban cell phone use while behind the wheel with the exception of emergencies. The National Transportation Safety Board reports the distraction from cell phones too often proves fatal for drivers and pedestrians.
Florida’s 2012 legislative session formally begins on January 10 and expect a repetition of what’s transpired for the last 10 years. Since 2002, there has been at least one bill introduced from both parties every year to prohibit minors from using hand-held devices behind the wheel. None of the legislation has passed. Already two bills are ready to go for the next session, but the Palm Beach Post reports don’t expect must difference next year. Read the rest »
There are only 15 states remaining that do not have any sort of ban on texting while driving, even though law enforcement and the public understand it is a leading cause of distracted driving. Florida is one of these states, so the St. Petersburg Times asked whether a ban on texting is possible in the upcoming January Florida 60-day legislative session. Every year bills are introduced and every year they are shot down or die in committee, and the Times says a few state senators have proposed a mild ban on texting while driving.
“Mild” means that texting would be a secondary offense that law enforcement could not pull you over for. SB 416 says a driver would only be cited for texting if he was pulled over for a primary offense, such as driving recklessly or speeding. This doesn’t really send a strong message not to text and drive. The Times reports that Republicans generally view texting bans as an intrusion into personal liberty. Read the rest »
A Florida lawmaker is pushing for a texting ban in the state. Florida is one of the few states that has no restrictions on cell phone use while behind the wheel. Florida State Representative Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton says it is finally time for some restrictions on cell phone use while driving. He points to a deadly crash last weekend that took the life of a 35-year-old man who was thought to be texting while driving. His Infiniti SUV was crushed and he was killed Saturday, September 10, on Interstate 95.
WPTV reports that careless driving and a failure to yield was a leading cause of crashes in Palm Beach County, which includes texting. If Slosberg gets his way, the first offense fine could be about $150. Read the rest »