By Danielle C. Armour
DELRAY BEACH- Senator Maria Sachs, District 34, has filed a bill that will make texting and/or emailing while operating a motor vehicle a primary traffic offense.
Currently,32 states have banned texting while driving. However, Florida is one of the seven states that have no restrictions at all. During the previous three legislative sessions, similar bills were introduced yet failed to pass. In the 2012 Legislative Session, Sachs proposed the bill that would ban drivers from typing on any wireless communication device.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports, more than 5,000 people are killed in crashes involving driver distraction. The department also found that the risk of crashing while texting and driving increases 23 times. A driver’s eyes are taken off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds when sending or receiving a text message. At 55 mph, this time is the equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field blind.
A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control confirms that texting while driving is a national epidemic among our youth; under the age of 20. This age group carries the largest proportion of drivers operating their vehicles while their attention is diverted, leaving them most at risk of dying in a crash caused by distractions.
Sachs said this legislation will save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property on Florida’s roadways. One of the most distracting things a person can do is text while driving- thus endangering her/himself and others on the road.
“Finally we will put common sense to traffic and safety,” she said.