Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal
Why is it dangerous?
Texting takes your mind and your eyes off the road.
It's a distraction - and distracted driving was the cause of most of the 10,000+ crashes in Marion County last year.
Nationally, more than eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured daily in crashes due to distracted driving, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Glancing down to read or send a text can take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. It doesn't seem long, but at 55 mph, you can cover the length of an entire football field in that brief time frame, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A lot can happen on the roadway in less than 5 seconds - a sudden stop, a dog darting into traffic, another driver running a red light. Driving requires your full attention. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road for your own safety and the safety of others.
Is it really illegal?
Yes, per Florida State Statute 316.305. In addition, the statute allows a user's billing records for their phone to be admitted as evidence to determine if the driver involved in a crash resulting in death or injury was texting at the time.
Other crime prevention topics
Scams and fraud
Hundreds of people fall for scams every year in Marion County, losing money and their sense of security. Follow these tips to ensure you don't also become a victim, and share with your friends and family to help build a safer Marion County for everyone.
1. Unsolicited calls or emails. These are communications that you aren't expecting and are out of the ordinary.
2. Requests for money or personal information. You may be asked to pay a bill, donate to a charity or pay a fine. Or, you could be asked for your credit card, bank account or social security number.
3. Required wire transfers. Wire transfer services don't have the same fraud protection as credit or debit cards, and are often the means used by scammers to obtain money from their victims. Reputable companies and government agencies would not require wiring money.
4. Tight deadlines. You might be asked to provide money or personal information very quickly. You might be told that your utilities will be shut off, your assets will be repossessed or that your credit card was stolen. This is an effort to force you to make a hasty decision.
If you receive a call with these characteristics:
1. Don't share. Don't give any financial or personal information.
2. Hang up. Get off the phone with the suspicious caller.
3. Verify. If you think the caller might be legitimate, call the company using a phone number on a bill, bank statement or other verified source. This extra step is worth the time spent to ensure you are not releasing information that could be used to defraud you.