Panama City Beach City Council voted 4-1, in support of the proposed State wide ban of driving and texting.
If this bill passes, it would make texting, emailing and instant messaging while behind the wheel, punishable by a $100 fine and points on your license.
Panama City Beach police, currently issue “Careless Driving” tickets, which is a category that texting while driving falls under. Currently, the local fine for this citation is set at $160.
Now, let us discuss.
Personally, I’m all in favor of this bill passing.
That probably come as a huge shock to most people who know me and my addiction of the Almighty Blackberry.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that at 35, I can out-text most 14 year old girls. In addition to that, I have both my personal and work emails, forwarded to my phone.
PLUS my Twitter and Facebook mobile applications. Which means that at any given second, my phone is vying for my attention. I’m not proud, I’m just a by-product of an overly mobilized society.
This might sound like an enormous amount of things happening on my phone, but amazingly it’s on the low-end of what newer phones can do now. If you have an Iphone, you can be in the process of hitting mock 5 speeds, on the freeway, while conducting a video conference with company big-wigs in Russia. Complete with charts, graphs and Google Analytics. It’s no wonder accident reports have shot through the roof over the last 2 years.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never fired off a text while I was driving but after one single, terrifying moment on the insane highways of Atlanta, I’ve tried my best to ignore the phones incessant neediness.
– Que Flashback Music –
At the time, I was a passenger in a co-workers car, barreling down 8 lanes of traffic, while merging along-side another 4 lanes of north-bound traffic. It was commuter mayhem that had me fervently wishing it was cool to wear helmets and full hockey gear inside a car. My co-worker, however, was completely unfazed by the whirl-wind of vehicular movement.
That’s when I realized my drivers zen-like state was a direct result of being completely engrossed in checking status updates on Facebook, since apparently there’s no time like the present to get people up to date on what you’re doing!
“Merging on-to 400 right now, so much traffic! Hope I don’t get hit! LOL”
It’s those moments that have enormous potential of becoming a gruesome, evening news headline and sadly, moments like that one have become heart-breaking headlines.
As of now, there are 30 states through out the nation, including DC and Guam, who have banned texting while driving.
Eight other states have extended that ban to include prohibiting drivers from talking on a hand-held device, when operating a motor-vehicle.
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington view this as a primary offense. Meaning an officer can issue a citation if you’re simply talking on your phone, regardless if any other traffic violation has occurred.
Many localities have passed their own distracted driving bans. However, some states – such as Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Oklahoma actually prohibit localities from enacting such laws.
Now that Florida is campaigning towards banning texting while driving, there is hope that we might be able to see a decline in traffic incidents caused by distracted drivers.
It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come as a society, and how involved we are with the ability to instantly communicate with others. So much, in fact, that new laws are being created to help protect us from- ourselves.
What are you’re thoughts on this topic? Do you live in a state that has a texting ban in place?