Distracted driving is dangerous and claims almost half a million lives every year. Texting and driving has become a dangerous habit to many individuals but not much has been done to break these horrible habits or prevent distracted driving. The state of Florida does not reach their full capability to protect people against distracted driving. The law for distracted driving is established as a secondary offense, which states that the driver must be caught doing something illegal in order to be penalized. To continue with having distracted driving a secondary offense will not do enough to protect people and prevent them from texting and driving. However, many others may argue that increasing the penalty for violating this law will not change the mindsets of people who text and drive because they do not truly understand the risks they are taking. Although many other dangerous distractions can occur, like eating, doing makeup, or even using touch screen navigation systems in cars while driving, they are not illegal to do so. This information proves that the state of Florida does not do enough to prevent distracted driving.
In 2016, 3,450 lives were taken consequently to distracted driving according to an article written by the NHTSA. In the state of Florida, a driver cannot solely be pulled over for distracted driving. This means that law enforcement officers cannot pull a driver over for witnessing a driver, put makeup on, eat, or text while driving unless they are driving reckless and run a red light for an example. Majority of states have advised individuals to use “hands-free devices” but according to an article that was written by Anderson&Anderson, Florida is one of the only states that have not “addressed the use of handheld and hands-free devices.” These hands-free devices include using Bluetooth or voice activated technology. Although Bluetooth and voice activated devices can still be potentially dangerous, this would bring Florida a step closer to prevent distracted driving.
Billboards and road way signs have been established all over the state of Florida leaving messages potentially to prevent distracted driving by the FDOT, that has not been the case though. Based on my personal experience, looking up or to the side to read a flashing sign with bright orange letters on freeways/highways have caused many accidents in the area I live in. In June of 2015, the FDOT introduced “safe phone zones” and encouraged Florida residents to only use their phones in the designated areas. These “safe phone zones” were created for individuals if they needed to make a call, send texts, or access their navigation systems. According to the FDOT, “Florida has designated 64 Rest Areas, Welcome Centers and Turnpike Services Plazas throughout the state as Safe Phone Zones, more than any other state.” This idea is very beneficial to the people who understand the consequences of distracted driving but for those who do not understand, maybe Florida has not done enough to inform drivers about the daily risks they take while driving.
Although many decisions that individuals do while driving cannot all be blamed on Florida, more could be done to change the way people think and their actions. Having texting and driving as a secondary offense will not stop people from it. Until this act is banned, more and more people will continue to text and drive. Safe Phone Zones are a very beneficial resource to residents who choose to use them. Some drivers believe that nothing could ever possible happen to them. Florida may not be able to be blamed for everything that its citizens’ do, but it can be blamed for not banning texting and driving, for not enforcing laws on other types of distracted driving, and for not informing drivers the