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PCPD reminds everyone the dangers of texting and driving

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 7:39 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Everyone knows not to drink and drive. But local law enforcement is reminding people that distracted driving can be just as dangerous.

Keep your eyes on the road because even a quick glance away can cause a crash.

“It’s extremely easy for someone to lose focus and not be paying attention 100%,” Panama City Police Department Public Information Officer Ken McVay said. “If you’re doing 45 mph, and you look down at your phone for 4 seconds, you’ve traveled almost the length of a football field with your eyes not on the road in front of you. Someone could’ve darted out in from of you. A car could’ve stopped suddenly.”

Panama City Police has been urging the community to keep their hands on the wheel and off your cell phone.

“Young drivers, in particular, I really want to emphasize the fact that it can wait. You know you’ve got your whole life to send that text to your friend and tell them you’re going to be there,” McVay said.

Don’t text and drive isn’t just a suggestion. In Florida, it’s the law. If an officer sees you on your phone, they can pull you over and write you a $30 fine. For the second offense, that number doubles and adds three points to your driver’s license.

Florida law covers more than just those texting while driving. McVay said you also can’t have your phone up to your ear while driving through school or construction zones.

Distracted driving isn’t a joke and it only takes a moment for someone’s life to change forever.

“Unfortunately, lives can change very quickly. A tragic accident can occur, you can hurt yourself, or more importantly, you can hurt or injure or possibly kill someone else by not being aware of where or what you’re doing while you’re driving on the roadway.”

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2020, roughly 50,000 car accidents were caused by distracted drivers.

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