While Florida drunk driving accidents account for thousands of injuries and fatalities each year and while drunk driving awareness campaigns are usually launched during the holiday season, some recent polls suggest that more people are worried by distracted driving than by drunk driving. While no poll has been published about Florida driver’s views, national and international polls suggest that more drivers see texting and driving as a slightly more serious threat to their safety than drunk driving.
This may represent a serious shift in the way we view dangers on the roads. So far, many states have banned texting and driving, although Florida is not currently among that number. Even in states that have banned the practice, experts note that laws are simply not enough. In order to get rid of both drunk driving accidents and distracted driving, society has to make both practices socially unacceptable.
What is interesting about this is that drunk driving has already become socially unacceptable, largely thanks to public awareness campaigns and efforts by groups such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Public awareness about the topic has increased steadily since the 1980s, and as a result, many drivers see drunk driving as socially unacceptable.
The same process has only begun with distracted driving. This past year, when Oprah Winfrey ran a show about the dangers of texting and driving, the issue received a lot more media attention. As well, advocacy groups dedicated to the topic have been created after families have lost children and loved ones to distracted drivers. These groups have helped raise awareness about the topic and in some states have even helped change legislation. So far, the issue seems to revolve around the use of mobile devices while driving. It is so far unknown whether other types of distracted driving – such as driving while eating or talking to passengers – will also become socially unacceptable.
So far, studies suggest that while drivers worry about the impact if distracted drivers on their own safety, people are not always so willing to put their own mobile devices away. While many drivers believe that distracted drivers are a danger on the road, polls suggest that many drivers do text and drive or talk on their cell phones while driving. Younger drivers, especially, are likely to text and drive, despite the known dangers.
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