On October 1, 2013, Florida Statute 316.305, the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law,” goes into effect, making Florida the 41st state to ban texting while driving.
The law bans texting, instant messaging (tweeting) and emailing while driving. It does not ban talking on the phone while driving. A violation is a secondary offense – a $30 fine plus court costs, which means you can’t get pulled over for doing it; you will only get cited if you’re pulled over for a primary offense such as lights out, speeding, or some other infraction. A second offense is $60 plus court costs.
The intent of the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” law is safety: to “improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users; prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle; and reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates related to motor vehicle crashes.” All good things. Parents can now tell their kids it’s illegal to text and drive in Florida.
While it’s a good first step, much more needs to be done to strengthen it. There are still plenty of other driving distractions besides texting that cause drivers to lose focus on the primary job of driving. They include changing music, eating, and talking on the phone. The main message of Terrell • Hogan’s Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign, that includes presentations for teens (End Distracted Driving) and the workforce, is our singular focus should be on driving and nothing else. One text or call can wreck it all. Research shows drivers’ brains do not do two things at once well; they switch between the two tasks. In the case of talking on the phone while driving, driving becomes the secondary task and that’s when accidents can happen. To learn more about these educational programs, click here.