There is one more week to see if the Florida law on texting while driving changes this year. Both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate have approved a bill that would change texting behind the wheel from a secondary offence to a primary offense, but the bill is not ready to be signed by Governor Ron DeSantis yet.
Both bills would allow a police officer to pull over and issue a citation to a driver who is texting (texting while driving will become a primary offense). Right now, drivers can be cited for texting only if they are committing another driving violation, such as speeding or having a broken taillight (a secondary offense).
There is a difference in the bills though. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Senate’s version state that police could pull over drivers who they see holding a cellphone or other wireless device while traveling through a school zone or construction zone where workers are present. Whereas, under the House’s version, the officer would need to observe the driver typing on the phone.
Sen. Wilton Simpson, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, wanted to go even further in requiring that drivers use their devices only in hands-free mode on all Florida roads. He scaled back the bill to more closely match the version passed by the House.
A first violation carries a $30 fine plus court costs, which could result in a total fine up to $108. A subsequent violation committed within five years carries a $60 fine.
Florida is not alone on cracking down of texting and driving. Forty-three other states make texting while driving a primary offense, according to a House analysis of the bill.
Stay tuned to see what happens to the Florida law on texting and driving. We should know something by Friday. In the meantime, drive safely and watch out for those who don’t.
About the Author
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help families who are impacted by a Tampa Bay car accident. Attorney Matthew Noyes even wrote a book on it – Do You Really Need An Attorney After a Car Accident. If you have questions after a car accident, call Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.