Gov. Rick Scott has commissioned a study to determine if texting-while-driving is causing traffic fatalities to increase in his state. Following a report that traffic fatalities in the state have increased 4 percent in the past year, the governor asked highway officials to determine if there is any correlation between the increase in traffic fatalities and the dangers of distracted driving.

Florida remains among just a handful of states without any distracted driving law which relates to the use of handheld devices. Legislators there have steadfastly resisted enacting any state laws regulating distracted driving, instead relegating that responsibility to municipalities. This is much the same stance as legislators in Texas who have also passed the burden of driving safety (with regard to distracted driving) to municipalities. In South Florida some communities have taken to enacting their own municipal ordinances against distracted driving, limiting the use of handheld devices by drivers. Companies and local businesses have spearheaded a movement to convince their employees to self-regulate the use of handheld devices by drivers, and have tried to convince legislators that a statewide makes sense in a place which sees millions of visitors flock to the state by car each year.

Across the country one state after another has decided that the risks of allowing drivers to use handheld devices behind simply are not worth ignoring any longer. This comes both from a National Highway transportation Safety report which said distracted driving was now a bigger cause of traffic fatalities than drunk driving, and from reports by numerous other agencies, including highway patrol offices, independent traffic safety investigators and insurance groups.

So far federal legislators have left the decision to allow or not allow drivers to use handheld devices behind the wheel up to state legislators, and state legislators, all but six of them, have passed new laws curtailing the use of these devices by drivers in one way or another. If the results of the report commissioned by Gov. Scott bear fruit, then it seems likely Florida will soon follow their lead.