And with texting comes consequences: Studies indicate texting drivers are 20 times more likely than their attentive counterparts to blunder and cause accidents. In 2009, distracted-driving contributed to more than 5,000 deaths and nearly half a million injuries.
That is evidence that speaks loudly and clearly to the gravity of this problem-evidence that largely has fallen on deaf ears in Tallahassee. State lawmakers have been stubborn as an old grouch. They’ve irresponsibly ignored pleas from citizens: 87 percent of drivers would back a law barring keyboarding behind the wheel. They’ve ignored safety groups: The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that drivers with cellphones are four times more likely to crash than motorists without them. And they’ve ignored the National Transportation Safety Board, which in December called for a nationwide non-emergency ban on texting and talking on cellphones while driving.
Once again, state Sen. Nancy Detert, a Venice Republican, intends to reintroduce a bill classifying texting while driving is a secondary traffic offense. It twice has rolled through the Senate only to crash in the House. We hope the measure finds better traction in the House in 2013, because Florida’s continued resistance is not only appalling, it’s deadly.
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