Texting while driving continues to be a topic for discussion. It shouldn’t be – it’s against the law in Florida. Yet, it continues to be an all too common cause of accidents, often resulting in deaths.
Let’s look at some startling statistics.
- Almost half (46%) of teens text while driving
- Over 2,600 people in America lost their lives because of texting drivers
- Texting causes over 300,000 automobile accidents every year
- Texting is just as distracting as drunk driving
The annual AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index survey concludes that more than 80% of drivers surveyed find distracted driving to be a serious problem resulting in making them feel less safe on the road. The survey also states that this number is 50% higher than it was five years ago. These statistics show how important it is for everyone to understand just how serious a problem texting is and that it only takes seconds for serious accidents to happen. The AAA Foundation is also focusing on how the distraction of texting affects different age groups. It’s not a surprise that teens rank in the highest numbers partly due to the fact that they are inexperienced drivers. The Foundation did an in-car study and found that teen drivers are distracted as much as one quarter of the time behind the wheel. That’s alarming!
As we mentioned at the beginning, texting while driving is illegal in Florida. While texting alone is considered a secondary offense and is not enough to warrant being pulled over and cited, it often creates other distractions. For instance, it could cause the driver to speed, improperly change lanes, not come to a complete stop at stop signs, and other driving infractions which do result in being pulled over, cited, and fined. Fines vary from county to county and in all cases are not inexpensive.
If the threat of an impending car accident isn’t enough to stop someone from texting while driving, consider the charges if the accident involves vehicular manslaughter. The driver could be facing:
- Felony conviction that sticks with you for the rest of your life
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Never getting your driver’s license back – ever
- Financial issues – fines, court costs, restitution, etc.
Driving plays a huge part in all of our lives, especially in Florida. Being able to “get up and go” at will equates to freedom. Best case scenario, texting while driving results in just a fine. From there it gets worse, from being involved in a car accident to losing your driver’s license to being incarcerated. Take a moment to think about how different your life would be if you lost your driver’s license. What would you no longer be able to do easily and quickly? The answer is, a lot. Now think about spending up to 15 years in prison.
We all need to ask ourselves one very important question – is the text message worth risking your life, the life of your passengers and the lives of other drivers? The answer is always no. If the message is so important that it can’t wait, pull over and send the message safely.