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Does our state do enough to prevent distracted driving?

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Brittany Robinson

on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of Does our state do enough to prevent distracted driving?

Does our state do enough to prevent distracted driving?
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
About 80 percent of car accidents are the result of inattention, according to the coalition. According to the National Safety Council, texting while driving causes about 1.6 million crashes per year. So, it’s obvious that distracted driving has become a widespread issue. And state legislators, school boards, police divisions, and community leaders all around the U.S. are trying to stop it.
Many states, 41, to be exact, have already banned texting while driving. Which begs the question “Is the state of Florida doing enough to prevent distracted driving?” Well according to my research, many believe they haven’t.
Currently, Florida does not require public schools to educate students about distracted driving. According to WGCU News, The Governor’s Highway Safety Association says the number of 16 and 17-year-old driver deaths in the U.S. were up 19 percent in the first half of 2012. Five Florida drivers that age died in the first six months of last year.
The fact that there are none of these crucial requirements in place and the number of teen injuries or deaths related to distracted driving positively correlate. Yet, the state of Florida has done nothing to change this.
So many other states in the U.S. have made major steps to help solve the problem of distracted driving. Not only was Florida one of the very last to make a change, their change was unsupportive. They have yet to require some kind of distracted driving education in their public schools. They have taken an unreasonable amount of time to take action on this issue. And the only action they have taken has made little to no effect on the safety and caution of drivers. With all this taken into account, I think it’s safe to say that Florida has not done enough to prevent distracted driving.
By: Brittany Robinson
And even with these statistics, Florida has yet to take a step to teach young drivers the dangers of distracted driving. No Driver’s Education course, distracted driving seminar, or even a PSA showing is required at Florida’s public schools.
Last year, 460 accidents were a result of distracted driving. In 2011, 174 accidents were caused because of distracted driving, as well as 530 accidents caused by the same reason in 2012. The number of accidents caused or related to distracted driving is increasing each year. So, why has it taken Florida so long to do something about it?
Kris Murphy, an advocate against distracted driving says, “Florida just wanted to do more surveys, wanted to get more information. I’m thinking, ’You want more deaths. You want more people to die this way.’” As stated by Spencer Aronfeld of the Huffington Post, in 2010 the Florida Department of Transportation created an internet survey resulting in 64% of the respondents designating distracted/inattentive driving as a traffic safety problem.
Four years later, Florida legislators made a small step to help this epidemic. However, Florida traffic accident attorney Matthew Noyes has some suspicion. “…this life-saving law could not have come soon enough; but I do question whom the new law really benefits. Some people could argue that by passing this law, Florida has done what they can do to prevent distracted driving. “Lawmakers, law enforcement and citizen groups have had mixed reaction to the legislation, but most agree it’s a step in the right direction.” However this step is fundamentally an extremely maybe even pointless step.
According to the Statute Section 316.305 also known as “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”, there are some exceptions to texting while driving. For instance, if the vehicle is stopped or you are in a traffic jam, you are allowed to use your phone. “Exemptions allow motorists to use phones to check maps, issue voice-commands or listen to music or other online programming. Talking on the cellphone is also not restricted.” So with all of these exclusions and exemptions from the law, the law essentially serves no purpose and does not help decrease the number of distracted drivers.
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