Our last post introduced a focus on distracted driving in Florida. With the Florida legislature poised to consider a ban on texting and driving for the fifth time in five years, this coverage is looking at the traffic safety reasons for doing anything we can to cut back on distracted driving.
In the absence of current legislation, some state authorities are taking whatever steps they can to cut the rate of fatal car accidents and serious injuries. The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority launched a public awareness campaign to this end. The campaign calls for Floridians to appoint a "designated texter" while driving.
The "Designated Texter" campaign asks people to sign up online with an official pledge. Participants can also post the stories behind their pledges - hopefully this will help point out the dangers of texting and driving to a wider audience. Expressway Authority spokesman Jeff Marshall said "we're hoping that people will take action and make the pledge. The goal is to motivate others to follow that behavior."
A consistent body of research suggests that texting and driving is likely even more dangerous than driving drunk. One study in 2009 found that drivers were much slower to brake when texting - even slower than if they were drunk. The federal government's distraction-related research suggests that texting and driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to be in an accident.
This is just another example of why distracted driving is such a serious public safety problem.
Source: Huff Post Tech, "'Designated Texter' Campaign To Curb Distracted Driving Launches In Florida," Katherine Bindley, Feb. 19, 2013