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Texting Attack

February 3rd, 2010 by flanews

People who text while driving are 20 times more likely to wreck than those who dont. Legislation to ban the practice in Florida has failed three years running, but as Whitney Ray tells us, bans in other states and pressure from the federal government could create a different outcome this year.

One year ago Jamie Lowstetter was crossing the street near her high school.

A girl was pulling out of the parking lot looking at her phone, said Jamie.

A second later.

She didnt see me on the crosswalk and she hit me, said Jamie.

Jamies head hit the hood of the car giving her a concussion.

The scenario plays out daily across the country, people sending text messages from behind the wheel and losing focus on the road.

Drivers Ed teacher Riley Bell warns his students of the dangers.

It comes down to being smart and making wise decision. I can only tell the kids so many times not to text and drive, not to drink and drive, but it comes down to them telling themselves, said Bell.

Its still legal for most drivers to text on Florida roadways, although federal rules outlaw the practice for people carrying heavy loads. Last week the federal government passed a ban on texting while driving for bus drivers and other commercial drivers.

Legislation banning texting while driving has failed three years in a row in Tallahassee, but the recent federal ban as well as bans in 21 other states are provoking lawmakers to act.

This year we really need to take a strong stand to stop texting, said State Senator Thad Altman.

Which could get more eyes off tiny screens and back on the road where they belong. People who are in the act of texting while driving look at the road on only two out of every ten seconds on average, according to recent studies.

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