Don’t Blink In The Sunshine State

This week the National Transportation Safety Board called for a nationwide ban on the use of any handheld electronic devices by drivers on any of the country’s roadways. Distracted driving, they say, is the most dangerous threat facing drivers today. It’s worse than driving under the influence because it is so common. Despite a multitude of public service ads meant to enlighten them to its dangers, many people think nothing of getting behind the wheel of a car with their cell phone in their hand.

Florida has some of the most lax laws against distracted driving in the nation. In fact, they don’t have any laws pertaining to the use of cells phones or text messaging devices by drivers, which practically declares open season on defensive drivers, already on alert against distracted drivers.

Defensive driving experts understand the importance of focusing their attention where it belongs: On the road ahead, and NOT on their cell phone.

Whoever is calling you will call you back. Whatever your girlfriend just texted you can wait until you get someplace to read it. There is no message worth your life, the lives of the passengers in your car or the life of the driver you crash into because you aren’t paying attention.

Anyone who has finished a defensive driving course walked away with a new appreciation for just how dangerous distracted driving is. They saw the numbers, did the math, heard the stories and learned the lessons of paying strict attention to the road ahead of them and the situation around them, instead of worrying about some fifteen second phone call that was probably the wrong number or at least could have waited until they got home.

Traffic school can help make you a safe, defensive driver, and keep points from accumulating on your license, but it won’t protect you from distracted drivers

Let’s say it’s the boss on the phone. He’s calling you and calling you because he needs to know where that report is you were supposed to finish before you left work. If you die in a crash while you’re on the phone with him just think how guilty he’ll feel. Especially since you left that report on his desk just as he asked.

Before you set out on a road trip to Florida pack your sunscreen and pay close attention to the driver heading right for you. You might see him, but he might be so busy texting his mommy that he won’t see you until it’s too late.

Image: Danilo Rizzuti /