Texting Ban Hits Florida Roadways
Florida has joined 40 other states in implementing a ban on texting and driving a motor vehicle. While the law makes it only a secondary offense, meaning police have to stop the driver for a seperate violation, this is presumably the first step in ramping up the effort to promote vehicle safety and target texting on the roadways. The intention of the new law is to deter drivers from sending or reading a text message, however it bans almost anything that requires typing or entering letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters. This outlaws emailing, browsing, and even dialing a phone number. Exceptions to the law include reporting crimes, road navigation, and receiving weather alerts.
A 2012 survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that two thirds of drivers admitted to reading a text or email while driving. Proponents of the new law believe that this will help to curb the phone related accidents. The Miami Herald has reported that over 4,500 accidents were attributed to drivers being distracted by their cell phones or electronic devices last year.
Because the texting ban is currently considered a minor offense, drivers who are pulled over for a traffic violation, and are found to be in breach, may be issued an additional $30 ticket for texting. It is also worth noting that text messages and emails may be read or sent as long as the vehicle is not moving, therefore incentivizing the safe practice of pulling over before engaging in electronic communications. By increasing attentiveness on Florida’s roadways, we can all revel in the reduction of vehicle collisions, personal injuries, and liability exposure.
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