Florida Bans Texting While Driving By Tod Aronovitz | 06/06/13 | 0 Comment

Florida became the 40th state to ban texting while driving when Governor Rick Scott recently signed SB 52 into law. The law prohibits a person from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device while driving, and encompasses text messaging, emailing and instant messaging through smart phones.

Gov. Scott said, “As a father and a grandfather, texting while driving is something that concerns me when my loved ones are on the road. The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the deadliest days on the road for teenagers. We must do everything we can at the state level to keep our teenagers and everyone on our roads safe. I cannot think of a better time to officially sign this bill into law.”

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed 2011 data on distracted driving. According to their study, they found:

  • 69% of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
  • 31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
  • Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 may be at increased risk; they have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • Texting while driving is linked with drinking and driving, or riding with someone who has been drinking among high school students in the United States, according to a CDC study that analyzed self-report data from the 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Students who reported engaging in risky driving behaviors said that they did so at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.
  • Nearly half of all U.S. high school students, aged 16 years or older, text or email while driving.
  • Students who text while driving are nearly twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking and five times as likely to drink and drive than students who don’t text while driving.
  • Students who frequently text while driving are more likely to ride with a drinking driver or drink and drive than students who text while driving less frequently.

At the official signing, Gov. Scott was by joined representatives from AT&T, Verizon Communications, The Florida Department of Transportation, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Miami Children’s Hospital, and students and teachers from Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Miami, who signed their names to a pledge to reject texting while driving.

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