Sun Sentinel, April 12, 2017
Wayne K Roustan
Florida ranks second only to Louisiana for distracted driving, according to a study released Wednesday.
Drivers were scored on data gathered through the EverDrive motion-sensing app. It measured speeding, sudden acceleration, aggressive turning, hard braking and other movement while the driver’s phone was being used.
It does not measure incidental movement such as when the phone is in sleep mode or when being used with a hands-free device.
The findings suggest 92 percent of drivers nationwide with cell phones have used them while in a moving car in the past 30 days, according to EverQuote Inc., the online insurance firm that released the study’s results.
Florida drivers received the second-worst score for driving while distracted, according to the study’s points system.
The EverDrive app logged 2.7 million vehicle trips and 230 million miles driven, the company said.
The findings are no surprise to Fort Lauderdale Police assistant chief Douglas MacDougall, who had a close call of his own Wednesday.
“I was driving on the turnpike and there was slow traffic and when the traffic picked up I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a white vehicle coming,” he said. “I pulled off into a left [lane] and the vehicle barely hit the vehicle in front [of me] and he had a cellphone in his right hand.”
But, MacDougall could not ticket the driver under Florida’s no texting while driving law because it’s only a secondary offense.
“I would move to make distracted driving a primary offense so officers can act on it,” he said.
Florida is one of only five states where police cannot pull over a driver specifically for texting while driving.