We in Florida must stop being distracted from passing valuable and comprehensive laws regulating distracted driving.
We know that distracted driving is the equivalent, in terms of accident risk, to drunken driving.
We know that the brain can perform only a single function at a time and that asking a driver’s brain to operate a 5000 pound piece of metal at 70 mph, when trying to answer the latest received text is asking more from our brains than they can safely deliver.
We know that driving requires focus and concentration and that Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent – at 55 mph – of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
There are 300 million wireless subscribers in America and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some number of us caused over 3000 deaths last year as the result of distracted driving.
We have finally learned that buckling safety belts was smart and that it saved lives. Discouraging distracted driving will accomplish as much or more.
So, do we go door to door and “get the smart phones”? Any law passed has to be functional and it must make enough sense that most people will comply with it. That eliminates the real draconian laws.
But what measures can we take:
- Make it illegal to talk on a cell phone unless hands free devices are used.
- Compel smart phone makers to engineer a way to disable texting capabilities while the phone is in a moving vehicle.
- Compel smart phone makers to engineer a way to disable email capabilities while the phone is in a moving vehicle.
- Prohibit young drivers from using cell and smart phones for any purpose; because we know that drivers under 25 are 2 to 3 times more likely to text while driving.
Now is the time to move for curbing this dangerous problem; because we know that 9 out of 10 drivers support laws that ban texting (NHTSA).