In many states, using a cell phone for texting while driving has been deemed illegal. Why? Because drivers cannot possibly pay full attention to the road when they are busy reading and sending text messages. This means that the risk of an accident caused by distracted driving is increased dramatically, which is something that puts lives at risk.
As of yet, Florida is one of the states that has not illegalized texting and driving at the same time. This lack of action is for a variety of reasons, including political concerns from members of the Senate. While a bill has been proposed, it continues to face delays and keeps getting stalled. The longer it takes to get the bill relating to texting and driving approved in Florida, the more accidents are likely to occur, and the more lives will be lost.
The Figures Speak for Themselves
Most people are well aware of the dangers of texting while driving. In states where the practice is illegal, people know that they will face serious penalties if caught doing this by officers. However, in states such as Florida where there are no controls in place yet, people will continue to text and drive even though common sense dictates that it is dangerous and could put their own and others’ lives at risk. The fact that there is no law stopping them from doing this means that they have nothing deterring them from texting and driving.
Let’s take a look at the figures for 2016 as an example. There were over 1,400 citations issued that year by authorities in Florida because of texting while driving. However, police are not able to pull a driver over simply for texting and driving despite the dangers associated with this practice. Instead, the police have to have another reason to pull them over before a citation can be issued.
However, it appears that the bill may be closer to getting passed, so this could mean that Florida will soon join the other states in terms of drivers getting pulled over as a result of texting and driving at the same time.
At present, there are nowhere near as many citations as there should be for texting and driving because of police officers having to observe another reason to justify pulling the driver over. If, as in many other states, the practice was deemed illegal, this would most certainly change. More importantly, many accidents could be prevented along with many lives being saved.
Racial Profiling Becomes a Concern
One of the issues that has sparked concern amongst some groups is that racial profiling could be the result of police having another cause to pull drivers over. This stems from statistics relating to issues such as the seatbelt law, which saw twice the number of black people being pulled over by police compared to white people. Some are concerned that a law which allows police to pull drivers over solely for texting while driving could lead to a similar pattern.
While this is not cause to disregard moving forward with the passing of the bill under consideration, an understanding of the legality justifying a police officer to take action needs to clearly be conveyed and statistically analyzed to ensure such concerns are addressed.