There’s going to be millions up for grabs, but states need to do what they can to make sure that drivers are safe behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is putting nearly $18 million up for grabs for states that have laws in effect during the 2013 fiscal year that prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to TruckingInfo.com.
Florida has steadfastly refused to pass legislation — even for young drivers. Even school bus drivers can text and drive here in Florida. No sweat. Now it will start costing the state millions of dollars in grant funds.
“Distracted driving is a persistent and growing epidemic on America’s roads-but there has also been incredible momentum in the states in recent years to pass laws that tackle the problem head on,” said U.S. DOT Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Our Martin County accident lawyers understand that there were more than 3,000 people who died in distracted-driving accidents in 2010. There were another 420,000 people injured in these incidents. What might be most alarming about these kinds of accidents is that they’re completely preventable yet drivers continue to take their hands off of the wheel and their eyes off the road and engage in distractions involving their cell phone or text messaging device.
This first batch of money has been made available through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. States will be able to get some of these funds if they have a comprehensive and primary law enacted during the 2013 fiscal year that is designed to stop drivers from text messaging while driving. It’s important that this law is primary, meaning that officers are able to pull over and write a ticket to a driver for doing nothing more than texting behind the wheel.
The state of Florida is one of the few states left that has absolutely no laws on the books that stops drivers from talking on a cell phone or text messaging behind the wheel. Like the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act says, states that don’t have these laws will not be eligible for the money.
States are going to have 45 days to apply for this money upon publication in the Federal Register.
Drivers in the state of Florida may not be banned from these kinds of dangerous and distracting behaviors behind the wheel. But we’re asking drivers to do what’s right and to keep their attention on the road. There should never be a text message or a phone call that’s worth risking your life. Keep your phone in the glove compartment or in the back seat so that you’re not tempted to use it. Have a passenger deal with your phone calls and text messages or pull over to a safe spot before you do. Safe driving habits can save your life.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the injury attorney of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-561-7777 today!
More Blog Entries:
Car Accident Fatalities Up in Both Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 8, 2012
States Amp Up Distracted Driving Laws – Florida a Holdout, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 2, 2012