Home General Distracted Driving: How Laws in Florida and Across the US Keep You Safe

Distracted Driving: How Laws in Florida and Across the US Keep You Safe

by Olufisayo
Distracted Driving

In today’s world, distracted driving is becoming an increasingly prevalent and scary issue. With technology constantly changing and our lives become busier by the day, the instances of distracted driving are increasing more and more.

We probably have all been guilty of it at some point in our lives:  glancing at our phones, staring at something on the side of the road, or even changing the radio station.

These are all actions that may be considered distracted driving and they all have the potential to take our attention away from the road ahead. Thankfully, many states, including Florida, have laws designed to protect us from the most severe and dangerous types of distracted driving. The real question is: what are these laws and do they help?

What Constitutes Distracted Driving?

The examples given previously, are just a small number of situations that constitute distracted driving. Frankly, the list could be endless.

Basically, anything that takes your attention away from the road and/or away from the operation of your motor vehicle can be considered distracted driving. Even simply talking to or attending to other people in your vehicle.

Taking this one step further, the State of Florida, in particular, has divided the types of distracted driving into three categories:

  • Visual
  • Manual
  • Cognitive

Although fairly self-explanatory, you can consider a visual distraction anything that takes your eyes away from the road. A manual distraction is one that takes your hands off the wheel of your vehicle.

A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind or your thoughts away from driving. Thinking back to the last time you were driving, I’m sure you can come up with more than a handful of distractions that you encountered.

What Are the Laws?

There are a number of different distracted driving laws in Florida. Though many states have had distracted driving laws on the books for several years, Florida has added theirs more recently. One of their laws involves texting and driving.

In Florida, if you are caught texting while driving, you can be pulled over and issued a citation. Because texting is considered one of the most severe forms of distraction, taking your eyes, hands, and mind away from driving, almost every single state in the country has a law about it.

Further, Florida law prohibits the use of a handheld cellular device while in work or school zones. It does not have a law prohibiting the use of a handheld cellular device at any other time on the road. Fewer states have laws addressing this issue, though they are becoming more prevalent. Many states have laws that encourage the use of hands-free devices.

Do They Help?

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), although there is a fairly clear correlation between texting and other forms of distracted driving with accident risk, there is still not much definitive research proving that distracted driving laws work.

In fact, several studies show the incidence of distracted driving is on the rise. Despite this, it is safe to say that these types of laws are here to stay. They may even become more expansive in the future.

Distracted driving happens every single day on every single highway in the nation. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and is a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents each year. States across the country, including Florida, have enacted laws designed to deter distracted driving activities such as texting.

Although the jury is still out on their effectiveness, these types of laws are definitely not going anywhere. The next question to ask might be: are they enough?

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels

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