Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are joining a statewide push to reduce distracted driving accidents in Florida.

Walt Disney World has announced that it is teaming up with state and national organizations, among which include AAA, the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida League of Cities, and the city of Orlando, to support legislation that bans motorists from texting behind the wheel.

According to the National Safety Council, over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes occur in the United States each year due to drivers who are distracted by texting, sending emails, and sending instant messages. A study by the Virginia Tech Highway Safety Institute found that individuals who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Florida is one of the few states without a distracted driving law. During the upcoming legislative session, both the Senate and the Florida House are expected to consider a measure to prevent distracted driving.

In a written statement, Walt Disney World stated that, “As part of an ongoing commitment to safety, Walt Disney World Resort is already among the growing number of companies across Florida that has a distracted driving policy in place.”

Thirty-nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Guam have prohibited the act of texting while driving. Ten states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

Distracted driving caused more than 400,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Florida Department of Highway Safety blames driver distraction for 1,474 injuries and seven deaths in the state that same year. Another 542 distracted driving accidents in Florida caused property damage only.


CFNews 13