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Traveler's Advocate

Safer Roads In 2011

Teen texting while driving ban, booster seat use are top legislative priorities

By Kevin Bakewell


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With Florida's 2011 legislative session set to convene on March 8, AAA will continue its work to make our roads safer by advocating for passage of laws addressing these two issues.

Teen Texting While Driving Ban

Taking your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and mind off the driving task radically increases your chances of causing a crash. Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting while driving, with eight more states prohibiting teen or new drivers from texting while driving.

A survey conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine in May 2010 showed that 61 percent of teens admit to risky driving habits. Of that 61 percent, 46 percent say that they text message when driving, and 51 percent talk on cell phones while driving.

AAA is continuing to call on the state legislature to make our roadways safer by passing legislation that bans teen drivers in the state from text messaging while driving.

Booster Seat Requirement

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S., but many of these deaths can be prevented by placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats.

Florida has one of the most lenient child passenger safety laws in the nation. It requires car seat use by children through age 3. At ages 4 and 5, the law provides the option to use a seat belt in lieu of a car seat. From a safety standpoint, though, the appropriate restraint system for children 4 to 7 is either a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, depending on the child's height and weight. (An instructional video on how to install booster sears can be found on AAA.com/TrafficSafety.)

Legislation requiring booster seat use was introduced during legislative sessions several times over the past 10 years, but it's never been signed into law. Properly restraining children in the right seat takes seconds, but the impact of that simple act can last a lifetime.

In addition to these key issues, AAA will be monitoring bills in the legislature this year related to transportation, insurance and traffic safety. We'd like for you to work with AAA to change our traffic safety culture. Together, we can save lives.


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