Help Make Texting While Driving a Primary Offense

by Beth Brainard
Executive Director of NPC

Florida remains #1 in the nation in roadway crashes and fatalities. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Florida is also only one of four states where texting while driving is not a primary offense.

The National Safety Council reports that 64% of all road incidents involve a cell phone; 74% of those incidents involve texting. It is by far the most dangerous of all “distracted driving” practices.

This year the Florida Legislature has the opportunity to pass legislation that will make texting a primary offense, which will allow law enforcement officers to stop motorists who are texting and issue citations. Those citations will hopefully come with significant fines, like in California or New York, where the first offense sets a motorist back $850.


  • Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road incidents each year. Of these, 1.6 million have cell phones involved – that’s 64%!
  • Every year approximately 421,000 people are injured in crashes involving a driver who was distracted.
  • 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they are texting.
  • Each year over 330,000 crashes caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries.
  • Texting and driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while drunk.
  • It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for an accident to occur.
  • Reading a text message while driving distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time.
  • In five seconds, a car going 55 mph covers the length of a football field. Not good news when the driver is looking at the phone instead of theroad.
  • The time a driver spends with eyes off the road increases by approximately 400% if texting.
  • Your chances of a crash for any reason increases by 23% when you text while driving.
  • 77% of adult drivers say they can easily manage texting while driving. Really? The statistics for teenagers are even worse. Parents please keep in mind that you are your children’s primary role models. Today’s tweens who observe Mom and Dad texting while driving are tomorrow’s teenagers who do the same.
  • 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving, yet 11 die every day as a result.
  • 94% of teenagers say they understand the consequences of texting and driving. Only a small percentage actually admits to doing it.
  • 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes each year were using a cell phone at the time of the crash.
  • Teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to bein a car crash when texting while driving.
  • 82% of American teenagers own a cell phone and use it regularly to talk and text.
  • When teens text while driving they veer off the lane 10% of their total drive time.
  • 48% of younger teens have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in that age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texting.

If you want to be safer on the road, take a moment to write your elected officials, Senator Passidomo ( and Representatives Donalds( and Rommel (, and urge them to support the pending legislation to make texting while driving a primary offense in Florida.

Beth Brainard is the Executive Director of Naples Pathways Coalition (NPC), a non-profit organization that works to create safe, bikeable, walkable communities in Collier County.

For more information or to join, visit the NPC web site at or contact Beth directly

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