What To Know About The Florida Department Of Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles’ Put It Down: Focus On Driving Campaign
As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has announced its Put it Down: Focus on Driving, also known as “U Drive. U Text. U Pay. National Enforcement Mobilization”. The FLHSMV has partnered with law enforcement and other agencies to educate Floridians about the importance of avoiding distracted driving with the campaign. The movement surrounds the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, section 316.305, Florida Statutes, which took effect on July 1, 2019. This law requires drivers to put their phones down and focus on driving.
What is the Wireless Communications While Driving Law?
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.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or mind off driving. It is extremely risky behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger. There are different kinds of driver distractions:
Types Of Driver Distraction
Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive – Thinking about anything other than driving
Texting requires all three types of distraction, making it one of the most dangerous of distracted driving behaviors. However, this is not the only cause of distracted driving. Other common distractions include 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.
To successfully avoid a crash, a driver must perceive a hazard, react and give the vehicle time to stop. Driver perception distance, or the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver sees a hazard until the brain recognizes it, and reaction distance, the distance a car will continue to travel after seeing a hazard until the driver physically hits the brakes, dramatically affects a vehicle’s stopping distance. Even a focused driver going 50 mph will travel nearly the length of a football field before coming to a complete stop.
When a driver is not focused on the road, it limits their ability to come to a stop and avoid a crash.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Florida Highway Patrol remind all drivers to keep your eyes on the road and Focus on Driving to ensure everyone can Arrive Alive!