Texting and driving in Florida to be primary offense under new bill

Leslie Hanson
December 7, 2017

"I'm proud to sponsor this vital piece of legislation that will make texting and driving a primary offense in the State of Florida and join the many other states who have answered the call for safer roadways".

Law enforcement now needs to have another reason to pull drivers over before siting them for distracted driving.

The bill will strengthen the ban on texting and messaging while driving. State legislators have tried to pass the measure for years, but without much success.

Past year in Florida, there were almost 50,000 distracted driving crashes; that's more than five crashes every hour.

The Herald reports that 14 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit the use of mobile devices by drivers at all times, while only a handful of states, including Florida, list texting and driving as a secondary offense.

Rep. Toledo said her own personal experience as a parent led her to file the legislation, which has already garnered the support of House leadership.

"As the mother of five children these numbers are frightening as they are compelling", Toledo said. "As an engineer the data is crystal clear".

Violation committed in school safety zone would add two additional points to license.

"Providing law enforcement with the ability to enforce the "Texting While Driving Ban" as a primary offense will save lives and prevent injuries", added bill co-sponsor Rep. Emily Slosberg, R-Delray Beach.

"Really what is at issue is trying to keep our families as safe as possible on the road", Corcoran said.

Slosberg's connection to driving safety is personal as well - in 1996, she was injured and her twin sister was killed in a auto crash when the driver was speeding. "This has reached a national crisis", Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, said. They would also be required to inform the driver of their rights to decline a search of the phone.

Asked about an American Civil Liberties Union study this year that found African-Americans were almost twice as likely as whites to be stopped for seat-belt violations, based on 2014 data, Corcoran said those concerns will be considered as the texting legislation is debated.

A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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