This whole Social Media thing has gotten out of hand.
Or maybe we could say ‘out of thumbs,’ seeing as how only creatures with thumbs can handle all of those gadgets which have opened a portal to the entire universe through Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, et al.
Even the Pope is getting a Twitter account later this year, according to the Associated Press.
Although the sight of the Pope himself texting messages whilst driving around in the Popemobile is incongrous, don’t think twice if he pulls up next to you in traffic someday soon and forces you into another lane because he is typing out his latest encyclical in 140 character bites.
Not likely, but the average Florida driver today is surrounded on the highway by all manner of folk talking or typing away on their smartphones, with their eyes looking down.
Down and not out the windshield while typing away for the average time it takes to send a text, five seconds, and at an average speed of 55 mph, and in those five seconds, that driver and his vehicle will travel the length of a football field.
And imagine what can -and regularly does – happen in those five seconds.
Last year alone, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, three-thousand people were killed and another five-hundred-thousand injured during those critical five – or more – seconds.
Only yesterday, Tuesday, a 29-year old driver whom the Florida Highway Patrol says was texting while driving, was killed in an accident just outside St. Petersburg.
The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a call for a nationwide ban on texting or talking on a phone while driving.
Florida is one of only a handful of states which do not have a law regulating driving and texting and/or calling.
Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly scorned the very idea of regulating calling and texting while driving.
And that brings us to Senate Bill 52.
Florida State Senator Nancy Detert is sponsoring the bill which has floundered due to legislative wrangling involving some lawmakers who feel that any bill which imposes personal restrictions on the driving public has the potential of infringing on personal liberties.
Senator Detert is standing her ground, and says she will not give up until the bill is passed, hopefully in the next session.
There’s just one problem with SB 52.
It has no teeth.
The law, if passed would only allow a law enforcement officer to slap a $35 fee on a driver for texting while driving if the driver is stopped for another violation.
Like maybe hitting another vehicle.
Oh well, back to the drawing, er, driving board.
We’ve said this before.
Possibly Tampa could enact a city ordinance regulating i.e. texting while driving while in city limits.
Heaven knows Examiner has seen enough of it up and down Kennedy Boulevard and on Ashley Drive during rush hours….and seen enough close calls to understand the risk involved to other drivers and pedestrians.
When Mayor Bob Buckhorn did not want pandhandlers tying up traffic and endangering lives by roaming out into the street, he got his ordinance passed.
Come on, Mayor Buckhorn, how about an ordinance which gets those other dangerous people -texting drivers – off their smartphones and eyes onto the road.
And then, you could say to Governor Scott and all of those wrangling legislators, ‘in yo’ Facebook.’