Thursday, February 23, 2012

Texting And Driving In Florida

I am a Florida registered voter and resident of Boca Raton.  I am also an expert in driver education and have been a professional race driver for many years.

I was stunned to read recently, that certain Florida Legislators believe a law against Texting While Driving would be an unreasonable infringement of personal liberties to the texting drivers.  I am wondering if those legislators drive on the same roads as the rest of us.

Every day in this country; texting drivers crash into other vehicles and grossly infringe on those innocent drivers personal liberties; by not allowing them to drive in safety.

Texting while driving has been fully researched and is known to be the leading cause of innumerable collisions and crashes on America’s roads.  Texting drivers continuously run red lights they didn’t see, or rear end vehicles they didn't notice were slowing down, etc.

The main reason texting drivers crash into other vehicles and pedestrians is because their eyes are completely off the road ahead as they text and drive.  Eyes off the road, for sometimes up to 5 or 6 seconds, is exactly what makes texting while driving stand out as the monster of distracted driving habits.

If any Florida Legislator thinks that it is ok for texting drivers to seriously injure and take away the lives of others, unchecked by sensible and reasoned laws, then they need to be out of public office.

Legislators; there are laws to stop a gun owner pointing their gun out of the window of a house, closing their eyes and pulling the trigger and I am sure you are ok with that particular infringement of personal liberties, because it makes perfect, reasonable sense.  Are you seriously going to tell me that driving a 3,000 to 5,000lb vehicle at any speed on our roads with your eyes effectively closed (eyes down to text) is any different than irresponsible gun use? Of course not.

I would hate to think that some Legislators entrenched position on this texting while driving issue; is for any other reason than they are ill-informed.  Florida needs its own version of an anti-texting law right now; that makes sense for our state.

I also read from the same Legislators, that they believe enforcement of texting while driving laws would be difficult.  This is mentioned in the same places I read about infringement of public liberties, which strongly suggests they believe this to be another reason to not pass any texting law.

35 other States have seen fit to pass laws to help stop this deadly driving distraction.  Police departments, Sheriff’s offices and Highway Patrol’s all over the US are coming up with very unique and imaginative ways to enforce these new laws.  Difficulty in enforcement should never be a reason to stop laws that certainly save lives.

I have one last point to mention.  I hear from many who say that if you ban texting and use of smart phones then where will it stop?  Next they will ban eating in cars, changing the radio station and putting on make-up etc.  The one word to understand is “frequency”.  Nobody takes an hour to put on some lip stick, comb their hair, or to eat a hamburger while driving; yet smart phone use, checking emails and texting while driving, can go on for hours.  There is no comparison, they are all driving distractions, but the amount of time spent on phones is enormous and research has shown that texting is currently the biggest factor in needless driving related collisions, crashes, injuries and fatalities.

If any elected official continues to stop and entangle reasonable legislation on the texting while driving problem; then I hope each of you takes full responsibility for every texting driver in Florida, who will continue to text while driving, with complete immunity.  It doesn’t really help to prosecute someone after the texting driver kills someone, now does it Legislators?

Sincerely, concerned road user

Andy Pilgrim

1 comment:

Doehrman Chamberlain said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important topic. Mr. Pilgrim’s credentials as both a driver education instructor and a professional race driver should leave no doubt as to his abilities and understanding of what constitutes safe behavior while behind the wheel. We certainly hope this commentary is able to reach a wide audience so more people can see that even the most experienced drivers understand the dangers caused by texting while driving.