We have all heard the dangers of texting while driving. States across the country started creating laws to cut down on the number of accidents caused by texting and driving, as well as to protect everyone on the road. Florida, on the other hand, has decided its current texting and driving law was not harsh enough.
Texting while driving is a dangerous habit. Since 2011, nearly 23% of auto collisions, or roughly 1.3 million crashes, involved a cell phone. The average time it takes for a person to look at a text message is 5 seconds. When driving at 55 miles per hour, you can drive the length of a football field. It causes you to swerve, slow down traffic, and merge into other lanes. Some people have even been seen driving with their knees in order to text. Some even equate texting while driving the equivalent to drinking four beers and then getting behind the wheel.
In 2013, texting while driving became a secondary offense in the state of Florida. This means that a law enforcement official can’t pull you over unless you are breaking another traffic rule first, such as doing a “rolling stop”. So far, according to State Senator, Maria Sachs, this law was not doing its job effectively. They want to ensure that law enforcement officers have the authority to stop people who are caught texting while driving.
In this case, texting and driving will be considered a primary offense. Over the past year, lawmakers have filed three bills that will strengthen the law, and will allow police officers to pull over anyone they see texting and driving. In addition, the fine will most likely double if the accused is caught in a school zone or near a crosswalk.
By making texting and driving a primary offense, lawmakers and law enforcement officials are hoping to cut down on the number of drivers who text while behind the wheel. They expect that the number of tickets for this offense will sky rocket and convince drivers to keep their phones out of their hand until they have reached their destination. Law officials say finding offenders at night will be particularly easy since their faces will be glowing from their phones.
Do you think this will make more states consider harsher texting and driving laws? Do you think texting and driving laws should be regulated nationwide?