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What is distracted driving?

In Florida, distracted driving is categorised in three forms namely visual, manual and cognitive. In simple words, distracted driving occurs when something takes off your hands from the wheel, brain off your driving and eyes off the lying road before you. So, whether your brain is occupied with some thought, or your eyes are focused on something else to the road or hands are occupied with something else to wheel, it bring out distracted driving as the result.

Is distracted driving really a problem?

Yes! Distracted driving is a big problem to not just an individual but to society. If a person involves in the distracted driving, he/she would fail to be fully attentive to driving. Distractions always take off the attention of a motorist from driving and hence causes several possible damages and negative effects. Involved in distracted driving, the motorist can miss out important objects, cues or events which ultimately leads to some crashes or accidents. So, distracted driving is not just a problem of the driver, but the risk associates to all who walks or moves on the road.

If I can't send text messages while driving, can I read them? And can I use my phone while driving to do other things, like surf the internet?

As per Florida law, you can neither send nor read a text message on your cell phone while driving your vehicle. Statute 316.305 prohibits motorists from manually reading or typing data on the cell phone while driving the vehicle. Under this law, you cannot text, instant message or email using your phone or handheld device when you are driving.

In addition, the law also prohibits drivers to surf the internet or do other things which involve manual typing or using cell phone by holding it in hands. Though there are some exemption on using cell phone for drivers that are only possible when the vehicle is in stationary position.

In an emergency when should I use my cell phone while driving?

The Florida law has introduced some exceptions for drivers operating emergency authorised vehicle like fire service operator, law enforcement officials or emergency medical service providers who can use their cell phones or laptops while driving.

In addition, in normal cases, if you have any emergency to use your phone, you must keep your car in the stationary position or stop and park it aside. Or at red light, you can use the phone while at driver’s seat.

How do the Florida law deal with this problem?

The Florida law has taken some serious steps to prevent accidents or crashes caused by distracted driving. For this purpose, the drivers are prohibited from typing a message on their cell phones when they are driving a car as it is a secondary offense in the state. The activity of typing a message while driving is not legal in Florida; however, if you are using your phone to receive or make a call while driving is yet legal. Moreover, FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) is already making efforts to educate drivers about distracted driving consequences:

  • Enhancing the awareness about distracted driving to prevent crashes or accident among people.
  • Promoting policies adoption to avoid distracted driving among entities and employers.
  • Enhancing knowledge of law enforcement officials to adequately investigate as well as collect data relating distracted driving.
  • Encouraging license restrictions on graduated drivers for teens.

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