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News Story
Updated: 08/06/2014 08:00:03AM

‘Heads up’ texters

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Bartow Police Chief Joseph Hall

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Several months ago, we talked about the new legislation on texting and driving. Although we already have laws in place in Florida that were supposed to outlaw driving any type of vehicle while being distracted for any reason, we now have a specific law that prevents texting while operating a vehicle.

Being distracted, whether it be texting, listening to the radio are arguing with the kids is just not a good idea. But this weekend, I was reminded that this doesn’t just apply to driving. Pedestrians also should pay attention to what they are doing.

We’ve all seen the funny videos on TV where people are walking through the mall playing with their cell phone and walked into a wall or a fountain or what have you. It is not all that funny when you are hit by a car because you were not paying attention. This weekend alone, I had two people literally walk right out in front of my vehicle in broad daylight. Both were walking and texting. We have had similar complaints at the Broadway Avenue crosswalk. People just walk right out in front of oncoming traffic while texting or talking on the phone.

I have no Florida State Statutes to throw at you this week. I am going to leave you with a favorite saying of my dad’s: “It really doesn’t matter who is in the right, if you are killed in the process.”

He applied that to people who love to run traffic lights, but you get the picture. There is a time and place for everything. I urge you to pay attention to what you are doing whether it is driving, riding a bicycle, or walking. Getting hurt is as easy as being distracted.

Joe Hall is the chief of the Bartow Police Department.


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