Florida is currently considering new legislation which would allow authorities to cite drivers who text and drive. There are multiple research studies to suggest that cell phones contribute to car accidents in Miami and other communities. However, one reason why texting bans have not been passed in Florida in the past is because many lawmakers note that any type of distracted driving can lead to car and truck accidents in Miami and other communities. It is impossible to legislate all possible forms of distraction in a car, and there are many types of distracted driving that police officers see regularly in South Florida:
1) Reading. Some drivers attempt to read text messages or even the newspaper while they drive, taking their eyes off the road for seconds at a time, putting themselves at risk of a serious collision.
2) Eating and drinking. Most cars have drink holders and many commuters in Miami and other cities take their morning coffee with them on the road. Drive-throughs also allow drivers to easily pick up food for a snack. According to authorities, however, eating and drinking in the car leads to many traffic accidents in Miami and Florida each year. Beverages can easily spill, which can distract drivers. Drivers who are eating and drinking are also taking their eyes and focus off the road as they open food wrappers and consume food.
3) Checking maps. Checking maps is dangerous, of course, since it removes a driver’s focus and eyes from the road. According to some experts, GPS devices may not be much better, if drivers are programming their destination into the device or taking these eyes off the road to check the devices.
4) Writing. Jotting down notes is dangerous, yet drivers do it every day.
5) Daydreaming. Recent studies suggest that mindless driving –
daydreaming or thinking about something besides driving – removes focus from the road and slows driver response times enough to cause a serious accident.
6) Changing music or adjusting the radio in the truck. This causes pedestrian accidents in Miami and across Florida each day. Devices such as MP3 players and iPods can actually help, since they allow drivers to program hours of music at a time, so that no adjustment is necessary.
7) Emotions. Research has shown that road rage leads to accidents because drivers are distracted and take risks when they drive angry. However, any strong emotion – anger, fear, upset, sadness – can mean that drivers are not fully focused on the road because they are thinking about whatever is behind the emotion.
Passengers. Speaking with passengers means that drivers are thinking about the conversation rather than about the road. This is one reason why some experts believe that hands-free mobile devices may not be safe for drivers, either.