TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - 18-year-old Alex Bishoff admits she sends text messages from behind the wheel, but only when she's at a stop.
“At stop signs and stop lights, not while in motion; it scares me,” said Bishoff.
It’s not the safest practice, but it’s better than texting while the car is moving. Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to get in an accident. 32 states have texting bans, but not Florida.
The state is taking a different approach to the deadly problem. An outright texting ban has failed in Tallahassee several years in a row, so this year lawmakers compromised.
They passed a bill requiring new drivers to learn about the dangers of texting while driving when they apply for a learners permit.
State Farm already educates its young drivers. They show videos and issue a safety test. Alex saw a similar video last year, it was an eye opener.
“It made me feel incredibly responsible for all of my actions on the road,” said Alex.
State Farm Agent Kathy Fain meets personally with all of her young drivers to make sure they understand the severity of the situation.
“They can get hurt in an instant, and it could be something that we can’t undo. So, as a State Farm agent, that’s my main thing: to keep them safe on the road,” said Fain.
And even though the state isn’t giving drivers a reason not to text, State Farm is. Young drivers who pass their safety course and stay out of trouble with the law can receive a discount until they’re 25.
The bill requiring educational courses for people applying for a learners permit is on the governor’s desk. He’s expected to sign it.
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