Most people have heard of (and have probably even been) a designated driver when out with friends, which means that if you are out in a social situation where there is alcohol one of you stays sober and then drives the others home. However, police in Florida are now urging motorists to have a ‘designated texter’ when driving in groups so that the driver is not tempted to look at their phone or text whilst at the wheel. Texting whilst driving is known to cause accidents, some of which can be extremely serious, which is why it is illegal in both the UK and many US states to use your phone at the wheel.
Most UK car insurance providers will not pay out for damages if an accident is caused due to texting while driving, and furthermore if the police become involved the driver could be charged with dangerous driving. However, texting while driving is not currently illegal in Florida due to the fact that some people have argued that restricting texting while driving is going too far to regulate people’s behaviour whilst inside their vehicles. The Orlando-Orange Expressway Authority is petitioning against this though and is planning on helping legislators in the Florida state to ban texting and driving.
The Orlando-Orange Expressway Authority believe that texting whilst driving can be as dangerous as drink driving due to the fact that the driver is not paying attention to the road and therefore is unable to react quick enough if another driver pulls out or brakes in front of them. Trevon Cleveland, a seventeen year old student from the Oak Ridge High School in Florida believes that the scheme is a good idea, and said: “I always ask my friends if they want me to send a text while they’re driving, because I don’t want them to put my life in jeopardy.”
“I used to see one or two friends texting and driving, but now none of them do it anymore. I think it’s great they’re avoiding a dangerous situation. Texting and driving really impairs you.” Meanwhile, an Expressway Authority spokesman, Jeff Marshall said: “We’re hoping that people will take action and make the pledge. The goal is to motivate others to follow that behaviour.”