Preventing more fatalities has become a major focus in Florida. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported a total of 45,740 crashes related to distracted driving in 2015. 198 of those crashes resulted in a fatality with 214 total fatalities as a result. For Hillsborough County the number were a total of three fatalities in 212 accidents. More heavily populated areas, such as Miami-Dade County with 16 fatalities in 4,445 total accidents, saw much higher numbers.
In fact, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, distracted driving is now one of the eight traffic safety priorities. The state has even banned texting while driving in an effort to help prevent distracted driving, which is anything that would take a person’s focus off driving. Besides texting, there are a few different types of distracted driving. It can occur from being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle or distractions due to any electronic device.
The state has introduced campaigns to bring awareness to the issue of texting and driving with a focus on educating officers and drivers against what distracted driving is and what can occur as a result. One example is the Just Put It Down campaign, which emphasizes the importance of not using a cellphone while driving. This campaign targets younger drivers between 16 and 24. Another is safe phone zones, which were created in partnership with insurance giant, Geico. Safe phone zones are areas where drivers may pull off the road to use their cellphones. Safe zones are typically found at rest stops and welcome centers. Signs clearly indicate where these safe zones are located.