Slow Down You Move Too Fast; Got to Make the Morning Last


I leave for work pretty early in the morning, usually just after 7 a.m.

My morning commute is probably less than 10 miles, but many times it’s a white knuckle experience of drivers drifting into lanes, bicyclists using everything but the bike lane, pedestrians looking at their phones as they cross the street despite the “do not walk signal” and cars running red lights. Fortunately, I don’t have to take I-95, but even local streets in Boca and Delray can resemble the cult movie “Death Race 2000.” It can be nuts out there: add School Zones, construction and speeding motorcycles and you end up needing therapy before you begin your day. It’s not traffic that bedevils drivers early in the morning; it’s speedy, erratic drivers who seem to be concentrating on everything but the road. As we first generation Floridians might say: “oy vey”!

Well, it turns out that there are disturbing statistics to back up our daily driving challenges.

More than 39,000 people were injured in Florida last year after being involved in distracted-driving crashes.

Distracted driving is claiming almost one life a day in the Sunshine State, according to numbers from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department.

There were more than 45,000 crashes caused by distracted drivers last year in Florida. At least 214 people died. Of the dead, 198 were drivers.

In Palm Beach County, there were 2,194 distracted driving crashes in 2015, resulting in 1,656 injuries and 7 deaths.

Since Florida’s ban on texting while driving went into effect a year and a half ago, police have issued just 3,400 citations, in part because texting is a secondary offense, which means that motorists must have be stopped for some other violation.

Police tell state legislators that the statistics don’t capture the entirety of the condition, because many crashes occur as a result of distracted driving that can’t be easily proven.

One in seven drivers admitted to Virginia Tech researchers that they text while driving. Forty-six percent of 16- and 17-year-olds said they text behind the wheel, while nearly half — 48 percent — of 18- to 24-year-olds admit to violating anti-texting laws.

Five texting bills, including primary enforcement, were introduced in the 2016 legislative session. None of them got a hearing.

So it doesn’t seem like legislative help is on the way any time soon. As many cities weigh the move to “complete streets” which calls for narrower lanes (hopefully to lower speeds and improve safety) and accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, there’s going to be a need for significant behavioral changes.

We have a long way to go. Even when I take A1A, once considered a road where it was OK to drive a little slower and admire the scenery, I see speeding cars, impatient drivers and lots of texting while driving.

All of which begs the question: what’s the rush?



  1. Patricia Sciarillo says

    That’s always been a problem. In the 14 years since I am living here I have seen it getting one uses signals, or the speed limit…if you drive 5 miles over the speed limit they are passing you, giving you obscene gesture, or tailgating..what is the rush? I am not talking about rush hour…slow down people…95 has become the autobahn. It is scary.

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