AAA warns hands free usage is still a dangerous driver distraction
Beginning October 1, Florida law enforcement officers can begin pulling drivers over for using their handheld cellular phone while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area.
Officers will issue warnings until January 1. In 2020, violators could be charged with a moving violation, which includes a base $60 fine (not including court costs or other fees) and three points on their driver license.
“Floridians should not wait until 2020 to change their driving behavior,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Cell phones create dangerous driver distractions in any situation. School and construction zones are especially volatile environments, and if you’re not paying attention bad things can happen fast. AAA urges all drivers to put their cell phones down and focus on the road.”
Even using hands-free technology is not risk free. AAA research revealed that drivers encounter dangerous mental distractions while using voice-based technology to text, change music or dial a phone number. In fact, this research shows the mental distraction can linger 27 seconds after using the technology. For drivers traveling 25 mph, that’d be like driving the length of three football fields, without fully paying attention to what’s going on around you.
“This research reminds drivers that even hands-free technology is dangerous to use while driving in construction and school zones,” Jenkins continued. “Just having your hands on the wheel is not enough. It’s important that drivers be focused on driving, so they can quickly react to any potential hazards on the road around them.”
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to nearly 9.9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.
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