Driving and talking on a cell phone in Florida is not illegal, yet.
Recently, there has been a rumor floating around social media that talking on a cell phone while driving is now illegal in the great state of Florida.
Fortunately, for all our distracted drivers out there, it’s not true. For those of us to do our best to maintain defensive driving habits, we must continue our efforts while waiting for our fellow distracted drivers to finish their phone conversation.
Until a law is passed regarding hands-free phone calls and driving, here is a statistic from the Florida DMV to help you understand the risk of cellular device distracted driving.
3,700 car accidents in 2017 were attributed to drivers distracted by a cell phone conversation. (Florida DMV)
Distracted driving is a form of bad driving as it leads to the unintentional breaking of driving laws. Though driving while talking on the phone is not illegal, it leads to bad driving, which can result in ticket-able driving offenses and points on your license.
Based on a study from the National Institute of Health, talking on a cell phone while driving reduces your reaction time by 40%! The study was conducted on participants using a driving simulator. The participants were between the ages of 21 and 26. The study focused on distractions that occur in your peripheral vision – the area covered by your cell phone when held up to your ear.
To limit your development of bad driving habits while using a cell phone, use these tips:
To call or not to call, that is the question
If you have a hands-free device built into your car, making phone calls are as easy as telling your voice activated system to “Call John Doe” and your system does all the work. For those of you that don’t have a built in hands-free, it is best to let it ring and return the call later, or if you must, pull your car over at a safe stopping point and make or answer the call.
Keep your eyes on the road
If you are expecting calls, or know that taking a call in your car is unavoidable, use a hands-free headset that will allow you to keep your eyes on the road at all times. Do not take notes, or look up numbers while behind the wheel. Always use speed-dial when possible.
Limit your conversations
Cell phones are convenient, but the privilege can be abused. It is difficult to concentrate on driving when you are making plans with family, or consoling a friend. Make sure that you’re not engaging in emotional or stressful conversations that can distract you from safe driving.
Use your common sense
Understand there are certain conditions that make driving while talking on the phone more dangerous. Severe weather conditions, heavy traffic, or unsafe road conditions can increase your chances of having an accident all on their own. When you add a cell phone conversation to the mix, your chances of being in, or causing an accident significantly increase.
Stay safe and remember these “DO” tips from the Florida DMV if you must use your phone while driving:
It is extremely important to remember that even though talking on your cell phone is currently legal in the state of Florida, it can result in traffic tickets if you break a road rule or cause an accident. The Florida Highway Patrol recommends using your cell phone for emergencies only to maintain the good status of your driver’s license.