Mar 27

Texting While Driving Law May Change in Florida

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teen texting while drivingTexting While Driving – most of all can spot it as we come up on a slower moving vehicle or one moving within the lane in front of us. This week, the Florida Legislature took steps to strengthen Florida’s ban on texting while driving.

The current law on distracted driving relating to the ban on texting while driving was approved in 2013. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 1,671 citations under the current law issued in the state last year, of which 39 were for repeat offenders. However, critics of the current law want it changed.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the Florida House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee unanimously backed a proposal (HB 107), sponsored by Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, and Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, that would shift texting while driving from a “secondary” offense to a “primary” offense. Right now, police can only issue a ticket for texting if they are pulled over for other reasons. By making it a primary offense, police could pull over motorists for simply texting behind the wheel.

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee approved a similar measure (SB 76) on Monday. However, that bill was approved only after senators removed language that would have broadly defined distractions to include reading, writing, grooming, applying beauty products or interactions with pets or unsecured cargo.

The Florida Legislature has tried this in the past. Last year, the House passed a measure to make texting while driving a primary offense, but the measure failed to advance in the Senate.

Under the Florida Senate proposal, warnings would be handed out to violators from Oct. 1 through the end of the year, at which time citations would start to be issued. First-time offenders could, if eligible, get their charges dismissed by taking a distracted driving program.

Texting while driving undoubtedly causes car accidents. Personally, I applaud any steps to reduce the chances of me or my family being injured in a car accident because of the negligence of another driver.

Drive safely and watch out for those who don’t!

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