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FLHSMV Launches Distracted Driving Campaign.

Thu, Apr 01, 2021 at 11:40AM

Written by Kristen Schmutz

Belden Communications News



The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and the Florida Highway Patrol launched the Put it Down. Focus on Driving campaign, Thursday. 

“Far too often, we see tragedies that could have been prevented if motorists had simply kept their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while driving,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Together, we can make our roads safer by pledging to drive distraction-free. Our passengers deserve better, other vehicles on the road deserve better, Florida’s law enforcement and first responders deserve better, and we as motorists owe it to them to be safe.”

According to a release, the month-long public awareness campaign is meant to educate Florida motorists to avoid distracted driving, inform them of current distracted driving laws, and encourage individuals to Take the Pledge helping to keep Florida’s roadways safe.

On average in 2020, there were more than 900 distracted driving crashes every week across our state. 

“Driving a vehicle on our roadways is a task that requires our full attention, all of the time. When we aren’t focused on driving, it limits our ability to come to a stop or simply slow down and move over when approaching a dangerous situation,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Make it a priority to eliminate distractions every time you get behind the wheel. I am confident that by working together, we can avoid the senseless tragedies that occur on our roadways every day from driving distracted. Remember, the life you save may be yours or one of your loved ones.”

According to a release, distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off driving. It is extremely risky behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger. There are different kinds of driver distractions:

  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – thinking about anything other than driving

“Distracted driving endangers everyone on the road, from those in your vehicle to bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and construction workers around you,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. Put the phone down and focus on driving – you could save a life.”

Texting mixes all three types of distractions, making it one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving behaviors. 

Other common distractions include: Tending to kids or passengers in the back seat, eating, watching an event outside of the vehicle, interacting with passengers, unsecured pets, putting on makeup or grooming, adjusting the radio or climate controls, and even daydreaming.

“Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on smartphones, can easily result in a tragic situation for the driver and passengers as well as other motorists. Our sheriffs stand ready to enforce Florida's distracted driving laws to ensure the safety of the public that we proudly represent. On behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I fully endorse the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ ‘Put it Down’ campaign,” said Sheriff Bobby Schultz, President of, Florida Sheriffs Association.


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