This is not difficult to believe. Driving on Highway 19 in Clearwater felt as though I was taking my life in my hands:
A new study reveals that drivers in the state of Florida are the second-worst when it comes to engaging in distracted driving behaviors. Only the state of Louisiana has more distracted drivers than Florida.
Drivers in Vermont were the least distracted. The study also concluded that, overall, 92 percent of drivers across the country use their cell phones when they are behind the wheel of their vehicle.
The study was conducted by EverQuote, the company that developed the safe driving app EverDrive. The app helps people track their own driving habits in order to help gain insight into driving behaviors which could be dangerous.
The company collected information on the app from 20 million trips. There were approximately 230 million miles driven on these trips.
In addition to the poor distracted driving score, Florida placed at number 39 in overall driving safety; Montana was at number 1. When the study looked at overall driving safety by region, they found that the Midwest had the safest drivers and Northeasterners were the least safe. When it came to phone use while driving, Southerners admitted to using that activity 41 percent of the time – the most of any region.
Florida’s ranking as the second worst in distracted driving could have something to do with its laws. Florida is one of only four states in the entire country where texting and driving is not a primary offense.
This means that law enforcement cannot cite a driver for texting unless they were stopped for another reason, such as running a stop sign. Vermont – which has the least number of distracted drivers – also has strict cell phone use laws.
Every day in this country, eight people are killed in distracted driving accidents, and almost 1,200 more are seriously injured. This carnage is in spite of multiple studies and hundreds of safe driving campaigns which warn about the dangers of using your cell phone when driving.
One study found that if a person is traveling 55 mph and looks at their phone for five seconds, it is the same as driving the entire length of a football field without looking.
Another study found that it takes almost half a minute for the brain to register what is in front of them after a driver has looked away from the road to read a text or talk on the phone.
Upon hearing of Florida’s ranking in this study, attorney Theodore DiSalvo commented, “Florida’s laws need to be stricter to reduce the carnage that distracted (texting) drivers inflict on everyone else.”