Save Lives. Just Drive.

By: Terri Lewis

In Florida, distracted driving from 2020-2022 accounted for 160,155 crashes, 8,154 serious injuries and 935 deaths.  These are numbers from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and many believe that the numbers are understated.  Currently, in Florida, using your phone to text while driving is forbidden only in school zones and work zones.  It also requires law enforcement to see the driver using their phones for texting, making it difficult to enforce and leads to the belief that the crashes and resulting injuries and deaths are very likely to be much higher.  How high?  Many studies report that over 80% of drivers admit to texting while driving.

The statistics are sobering, showing that if a driver texts while driving, they are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near miss.  In fact, you are actually four times more likely to be involved in a crash, just by having a phone in your hand.

In the first 12 states with Hands-Free laws, they saw traffic fatalities decrease by 16%.  Ohio had a 25% drop in fatalities in the 6 months after the law was passed in April 2023.  Florida legislature had a bill working through three committees in 2023.  It passed unanimously in all three committees but the legislative session ended before it could be finalized in the House and sent to the Senate.   With sponsors from the House and the Senate, there will be a new attempt in 2024 to pass a Hands-Free law in Florida. Specific wording will be refined with law enforcement to ensure that the law can be enforceable as a moving violation.  There will also be a move to eliminate a current loop-hole that allows drivers to enter a GPS location by hand.

With current technology, there isn’t any reason why someone can’t go hands-free.  Voice command is standard on all phones and has been for years.  Connecting phones through a car’s navigation and command center further facilitates the ease of use without using hands.  Car systems prevent the use of videos on a phone while driving. (Unfortunately, this doesn’t yet exist on the cell phone when its not connected to the car’s navigation system so someone can load a video, put it in a holder and watch a movie while driving…down I-75. Yes, I’ve seen this.)

There is also a financial incentive to go hands-free, insurance companies are offering discounted rates for drivers who allow monitoring of safe driver behavior.  On the flip side, according to, getting a texting ticket may raise your car insurance rates by ~24%.

Please sign the petition at Hands Free Florida:

Contact your lawmakers and ask them for their support.

Distracted driving is getting worse and there is a very clear improvement in safety in states that have Hands Free laws.  If someone texts and drives, it’s not a matter of if, but when they will be in an accident.  Then the question is who will die?  Someone out there loves you. Just drive.


Terri Lewis , BSEE, MBA, is Director of Planet Connected, an Industrial Technology Consulting organization based in Fort Myers. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering – Smart Cities from the University of Central Florida.   Email Terri at

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