Why do authorities statewide seem more focused on issuing tickets for carpool lane violations or failing to use turn signals than texting while driving?
According to Florida law, a person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. (FS 316.305) But, under Florida’s law, drivers can make phone calls, check weather or traffic alerts and use phones for navigation – except in a school or construction zone, which are “hands free” spaces, where any phone activity behind the wheel is prohibited.
In 2020, there were 48,488 distracted driving crashes in Florida. That means, on average in 2020, there were more than 932 distracted driving crashes every week. These crashes have increased roughly 37 percent since 2015. Crashes involving electronic communication devices accounted for 34 percent of distracted driving crashes for 20- 29-year-olds and were the highest of any age group; meanwhile a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey found nearly 30% of drivers ages 21-34 reported that texting had no impact on their driving. In 2019, Florida recorded more than 56,000 crashes and nearly 300 deaths blamed on distracted driving, which includes texting.
There were 1,608 first offense texting citations given in Florida in 2018. During 2019, the first full year it was illegal, and the first year when drivers could be ticketed – officers, deputies, troopers, and others wrote 1,014 citations among Florida’s more than 15 million licensed drivers. Last year, in 2020, 3,174 first offense texting citations were issued in the state of Florida.
Why then do authorities statewide seemed more focused on issuing tickets for carpool lane violations or failing to use turn signals than texting while driving?
Christopher Cann for WUFT news shares his findings: Data Show Florida’s New Law Against Texting While Driving Is Rarely Enforced.