Essay Epidemic in Florida by James Warren

Submitted By ssgjwarren
Words: 1189
Pages: 5

Epidemic in Florida
James E. Warren
Grantham University

Epidemic in Florida Marion County Florida parents were devastated by a horrific tragedy that no parent should ever face. On 23 September 2008, a Marion County school bus was stopped to unload children when a semi truck slammed into the stopped bus at which both vehicles erupted in flames. Twenty children were pulled from the smoke filled bus except for 13 year old Margay Schee who lie there trapped and burning alive. According to the report from Ocala newspaper the (Star-Banner), Florida Highway Patrol stated the driver of the truck was on his cell phone just before impact (Miller, 2008). Does commuting to work or even school have to be so dangerous? Every motor vehicle operator in Florida places their life is in the hands of others. Their safety is balanced between two groups, the educated and the ignorant. Society is filled with people that are unaware, misinformed, or just want to ignore the dangers of distracted driving. Traffic accidents and fatalities have increased in Florida due to distracted driving at an alarming rate, however State Legislature refuses to adopt hands free laws. Statistics show a decrease of traffic accidents throughout America in States with hands free laws yet Florida doesn't see this as a problem even though the accident rate is at an all time high. With the extreme dangers of distracted driving and the increased number of accidents, Florida lawmakers need to pass a "Hands Free Laws" because a human life is more important than any phone call or text message. Five seconds, that is all the time required to kill someone. Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2011). At a speed of seventy miles per hour the vehicle is traveling 102 feet per second, that is like driving one and a half football fields with eyes closed. The driver would travel an entire football field length even at speeds as low as 45 miles per hour. Nobody could be that foolish, but that's exactly what they are doing when their eyes leave the road. In 2010 there were an estimated 3,092 fatalities involving a distracted driver and 18% of injury crashes were reported as distraction affected crashes (NHTSA, 2011). Even though 3,092 fatalities for the entire United States in one year does not sound like a high number, this number doesn't factor in the States without distracted driving laws like Florida and 39 other states. The State of Florida with a 2010 population of 18.8 million, has seen 1,686 non-alcohol related fatalities while a state like Texas with a population of over 25.2 million reported only 1,540 non-alcohol involved fatalities (NHTSA, 2012). Even though California reported 1,787 non-alcohol related fatalities, they also have twice the population at 37.3 million making Florida the leader in accidents. It's almost imposable to collect perfect data but one thing is for sure, Florida has an accident epidemic on their hands. So what has the Florida legislature done to solve this epidemic? Since 2009, several Bills have been introduced into Legislation and all have met their death. In October of 2009, Florida's Roads, Bridges & Ports Policy Committee, introduced House Bill 41 as the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law" (Florida House of Representatives, 2010). However, this Bill died April 2010 in Finance & Tax Council by Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff as she single handedly crushed this with the only no vote. In fact, Senator Bogdanoff is known throughout Florida as the bill slayer because she has voted no on every distracted driving bill. In 2010 AT&T, one of the largest profit producing communication companies, contributed over one million dollars to 436 Florida political affiliations. Specifically Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff who received $11,000 in campaign contributions from the Telecom service and…