As of today, the Florida Legislature has been unsuccessful in passing any distracted driving legislation. This means you should be able to text the police officer driving next to you a friendly “LOL” or a “:)” or a “LMAO”, without fear of being pulled over for texting[note: you may be pulled over for other reasons.]
Does this mean that you should continue to text while driving?
The seemingly obvious answer is no. Though it is certainly a fun, addictive and easy way to stay connected to your “BFF”.
Before you do, consider all of the other drivers on the road. What are they paying attention to? Are they just as distracted as you? Probably so.
We tend to feel comfortable inside our auto bubble and see accidents as happening to other people. We’ve been driving and texting for years and are still accident-free. We think we are invincible.
We are not. We are at the mercy of everyone else on the road. We are at the mercy of the myriad parts of the car we are in. We are at the mercy of the weather. We are at the mercy of physics.
In a car, we are vulnerable. So much so, that the State of Florida recognizes a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon [See Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.]
Think about it this way, would you want your child’s bus driver to text on the way to school ?
If you are a text addict, and abstinence is out of the question , then try to limit your texting to when you are stopped in traffic, or at a railroad crossing. You can always “pull out” of traffic and divert into the nearest parking lot [note: always be safe and aware of your surroundings].
The Florida Legislature returns in March 2011, and there will be new attempts at introducing and passing distracted driving legislation.