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Why Won’t Florida Pass a Distracted Driving Law?

May 23, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

If you drive a newer motor vehicle, you might enjoy the added feature of an in-board feature that lets you operate your cell phone with your voice or by using buttons on the steering wheel. Ford Motor Company’s Sync System is one of those systems that makes cell phone use slightly safer while driving. It might be a concession to the fact that drivers refuse to turn off their cell phones behind the wheel. In 2010, over 32,000 people lost their lives in distracted driving car crashes, and time will tell if these in-board systems can reduce the number of deaths and injuries.

However, there does not seem to be a technological shortcut to make texting while driving any safer. Like many people today, you might use your cell phone for texting more than you use it for talking. Texting requires both hands and takes the driver’s eyes and attention off the road – that combined distraction equals a major safety hazard behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, another Florida legislative session ended in March without a single distracted driving law passed. There was a bill to ban texting while driving, which made its way to the Senate floor before defeat. Polls show that over 70 percent of Florida voters favor a ban on texting while driving.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles says cell phones are factors in serious car accidents, but the agency has not taken a position on hands-free legislation.