Florida Still Lacks Laws to Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere

Florida is one of the few states that has yet to enact a ban on texting while driving. The state is making strides, however, to attempt to curb the dangerous driving habit.

The Florida House and Senate have recently voted to approve House Bill 689 to help reduce risks of distracted driving car accident in Naples and elsewhere in Florida, according to WCTV.

“We’ve been battling the texting while driving issue in this state for years, and up until now we have done very little to reduce the danger to drivers on the road. Under this legislation, all new drivers and students in driver improvement classes will undergo a thorough education on the real risks associated with texting while driving. Education is not the end of the road, but it certainly is the beginning,” said Rep. Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach), sponsor of the bill.

Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys urge drivers to avoid distracted driving habits as full attention should be placed on the roadway when operating a motor vehicle. Driving while distracted greatly increases your risks of being involved in an accident that causes serious injury — or death.

House Bill 689, or the Driver Improvement Schools and Education Programs Bill, aims to reduce the number of accidents related to texting while driving. The bill aims to educate drivers about the dangers and consequences of the distracting habit.

Distracted driving affects drivers of all types. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 20 percent of injury crashes reported distractions at the time of the accident in 2009. About 5,500 people were killed, and an additional 448,000 injured, in these accidents. People who use hand-held devices while operating a motor vehicle are four times more likely to get into an accident serious enough to cause injury. The use of a cell phone, hands-free or not, gives a driver the same reaction time as a driver who is legally drunk, according to Distraction.gov.

“Secondary enforcement bans don’t work,” said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association. “It needs to be a primary ban for it to be effective.”

Nearly every state bans teens from texting while driving and statistics are expected to reflect the bans. A California study found that a ban in that state reduced texting while driving by 70 percent.

There are three main types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. What’s most alarming is that texting involves all three, and drivers are actively participating in the act while operating a motor vehicle.