Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction.  There is no doubt that the improvement of technology in today’s society has greatly benefited our society as a whole.  But, sending a text message, talking on a cell phone or using a navigation system creates hazardous road conditions.  These and any other distractions, such as tending to kids or passengers in the back seat, eating, watching an event outside of the vehicle, interacting with passengers, unsecured pets, putting on makeup or grooming, adjusting radio or climate controls, checking your GPS app or daydreaming.  These distractions can endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual-taking your eyes off the road,
  • Manual-taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive- taking your mind off driving.

Texting while driving has been proven dangerous beyond dispute due to the fact that it requires all three distractions at once to complete. Taking one’s eyes off the road for the average 5-6 second text, is enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 MPH.

According to the CDC related to 2018 statistics, over 2800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted driving.  About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes were not in vehicles.  They were walking, riding their bicycles, or outside of their vehicle.

Young adult and teen drivers are the most at risk for distracted driving.  In 2018, 25 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashed were young adults aged 20-29.  Drivers aged 15-19 were more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 20 and older among drivers in crashes where someone died.  It is important for parents to speak to their teen drivers about the risks of driving while distracted.  Remind them that driving requires their full attention.  This must also be done by setting the example for them.  A parent/guardian who drives while distracted will likely not be taken seriously by their young driver.

Section 316.305, Florida Statutes allows law enforcement to stop motor vehicles and issue citations to motorists that are texting and driving. A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email and instant message.

Section 316.306, Florida Statutes, is a prohibition on using wireless communications devices in a handheld manner in school and work zone.  A person may not operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device in a handheld manner in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area. Active work zone, as it pertains to Section 316.306, Florida Statutes, means that construction personnel are present or are operating equipment on the road or immediately adjacent to the work zone area.

The men and women of the Lady Lake Police Department remind you to be safe out on the road and pay careful attention to the new road patterns due to the construction along US Hwy 441.

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