In an effort to "improve roadway safety ... and prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle," the state legislature passed the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving." Despite the law going into effect more than a week ago, many Jacksonville residents are just now hearing about it. One reason is because no one can shut up about the Mathews Bridge or the return of Cinottis' pumpkin donuts long enough to listen (apparently, the federal government shut down too—whatever that means). The lack of knowledge and/or interest regarding the ban might also have something to do with the law's exclusions and limitations, and the fact that it's only a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can't pull a driver over just for texting.
While I applaud lawmakers for the effort, I'm not sure how much of an impact it will actually have, especially since there are so many other distracting activities done while driving.
Driving while primping: includes but is not limited putting on make-up, shaving, eyebrow plucking, doing your hair, flossing teeth, applying self-tanner and popping zits
Driving while performing: includes but is not limited to singing or lip-synching with or without the use of overly theatrical hand gestures, seat dancing (frequently brought on by Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and anything by Beyoncé), as well as the playing of air guitar, air drums, air keyboard, air bongos, air violin, air banjo, air saxophone, etc. (in addition to endangering the lives of others, you just look stupid)
Driving while listening to talk radio or sports radio: just imagine how many accidents Rush Limbaugh alone has caused by opening his mouth
Driving while entertaining oneself: even if it's for self-improvement purposes including but not limited to reading newspapers or books (print or tablet versions), doing crossword puzzles or sudoku (especially with a pen), playing Games With Friends (or similar online word games that everyone cheats at), posting your whereabouts and goings-to on Facebook and Twitter
Driving while listening to a meditation CD: It makes sense, people, especially when the voice tells you to close your eyes
Driving while holding something bulky, living, hot, fragile or otherwise distracting: Includes but is not limited to a beanbag chair, a live animal (no matter how small or adorable), tray of baked beans right out of the oven, three-tier wedding cake or a live hand grenade.
Driving while engaging in acts that should be performed in privacy, if at all: includes but is not limited to picking your nose, readjusting your junk, digging out a wedgie, giving your armpits the sniff test and having sex
And finally, driving while attempting to adjust your seatbelt: How's that for ironic, Alanis Morrissette?
To read Florida Statute 316.305 in its entirety, click here. Just please don't do so while you're driving.