The Miami Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) announced today that it has plans to create a bumpered "texting lane" along the Dolphin Expressway.
"This is a necessary step we must take as a community to ensure public safety," said MDX spokeswoman Anne Hinga, noting that educational campaigns about the dangers of texting while driving have failed to curb the ubiquitous behavior.
“Our roads are filled with millennials raised in front of a cellphone screen. We cannot realistically expect these young drivers not to text and drive," said Ms. Hinga. "The bumpered texting lane is our attempt to mitigate the dangers of texting while driving and is a plan that we believe will save thousands of lives."
MDX says it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a national road consultant to draft plans for installing bumpers along each side of the middle lane of the Dolphin, an improvement expected to cost the County upwards of $75 million dollars. The Authority says it has already started to assess the viability of installing additional texting lanes on other County thoroughfares.
Sixteen-year-old Gulliver student Kelsey Gutierrez said she supported the new lane, admitting that she has already been in eight minor traffic accidents caused by phone-related inattentiveness since receiving her S-Class Mercedes at her Sweet-Sixteen party last February. The young driver noted, however, that "only old people text" and questioned whether the lanes could also be used for drivers "sending snaps" or "instagramming cute traffic pics."
The Plantain reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department to ask whether the texting lanes would also be available to drivers who were making Snapchat videos, Instagramming, or watching Youtube. A local law enforcement officer who asked to remain anonymous advised the Plantain that highway officers will have quite a lot of discretion about who can or cannot use the new lanes and noted that individual decisions will likely come down to officer's mood and the driver's race.