CREATED Sep. 2, 2013
NAPLES, Fla. - In less than a month, it will be illegal to text and drive in Florida. One local mom who has been a driving force in getting this legislation passed said this is just a small step on the road to safer driving.
Kristin Murphy's daughter Chelsey died in 2010 at age 19 after being hit by a car. The driver was talking on his phone at the time and didn't see her. Since Chelsey's death, Murphy has spent the last three years advocating for stricter distracted driving laws. Finally, she got a small victory this year when Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law making it a second offense to text and drive.
"When Governor Scott signed that bill, I felt numb all over again," Murphy said. "I was numb when she died now I feel numb all over again because now, we got our foot in the door, we got this little baby step."
Under the new law, texting while driving is a second offense, meaning an officer can't pull a driver over just for texting but can write a citation for that if the driver gets pulled over for something else. Murphy said she's not stopping here.
"Right now it's just the texting part... I want it to be talking. Chelcy was killed by someone talking on their phone. He wasn't texting, he was talking on his phone," Murphy said.
According to the National Safety Council, 24 percent of all car crashes involve cell phone conversations. A University of Utah study showed talking on the phone while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving.
Murphy is currently traveling around to different schools talking to students about the dangers of using a phone while driving. She will continue advocating for stricter distracted driving laws until the laws get passed.
"More people are going to die, more people are going to lose their lives on these roads if Florida doesn't get with it do a full no texting, no talking, no bluetooth. Put it down," she said.