Texting while driving was an issue that was hot not only in Florida but throughout the nation. And how it is looking right now, it might be an issue in the Florida State Legislature yet again this year. And the fact that this is even coming up for debate is shocking to me.
There are two important factors in this bill that I have heard legislators talk about over the past year. First, there is talk about how strong or light the penalties should be. Second, there is discussion about the question of “when” someone could text. Stephen Precourt brought this up during his Orlando Sentinel endorsement meeting.
Lets look at the first part of this…penalties. How strong should they be?
In 2007, there were around 41,000 auto accident related deaths in the United States. Of those, around 12,000 were due to drunk driving. The same amount was due to speeding. 6,000 were related to texting while driving. So while the stat might be half of speeding and drunk driving, it is still a serious problem that kills 6,000 Americans (for now) a year.
So, lets look at drunk driving. We aren’t against drunk driving because someone is an alcoholic or they might be acting stupid at the bar. We are against it because someone is impaired and can get in the car and kill someone, pure and simple.
The key word in that last paragraph is “impaired”. If drinking alcohol didn’t impair your judgement while driving, we wouldn’t have any DIU laws on the books whatsoever. Therefore, anything that can seriously impair a driver, that can cause a large amount of deaths on our highways, should be given more than a $30 fine. We should look at really making these penalties stiff so that people, if caught once, won’t do it again.
The second issue that I heard regarding this issue was the “when” is it safe to text in the car. Stephen Precourt brought this up once, and I was kind of surprised that a state legislator couldn’t answer this extremely easy question.
So, when is it safe to text? Well, you are out of any lane of traffic and your car is in the parking or neutral gear. See, now was that really that hard Mr. Precourt? I think no.
Day after day, I wonder about Florida. When we try to pass laws that can put us into the 21st Century, in addition to saving lives, we are constantly trying to push ourselves back in to the 20th Century. And with the super-majority the Republicans have in both houses, I wonder if they will succeed in pushing us back into the 19th Century.
If you want to know the result of this accident that is in the photo above, just look at this link. Just a warning, it is graphic toward the end of the post. Still, it shows that this is just as much of a problem at DUIs and speeding.
Time to come back to the 2010’s Florida.
Yeah, I know this was just a small ramble of mine, but I had to get it off my chest. And yep, California is sounding better by the minute.