Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 9, 2018 - Currently, Florida law views texting while driving as a secondary offense, meaning that drivers cannot be pulled over for texting, but they can be ticketed if they have committed another driving offense. In the past, lawmakers have shot down any proposed legislature attempting to make texting and driving a primary offense.
On October 24, a bipartisan association of lawmakers decided to reach out to the Florida House and Senate to classify texting while driving as a primary offense. This would mean that a driver could be pulled over for just texting.
After the declarations of several people who experienced the death of a family member due to a texting driver, the Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee voted 7–1 to approve a primary-offense bill, SB 90.
There still remains some hesitancy in approving a primary offense for texting and driving. Senator Jeff Clemens, a Democrat from Lake Worth, has examined statistics in states with primary offense for texting and driving and claims that there is not much difference once the primary offense is instated.
Clemens says, “My main concern here is not giving people false hope that this is going to solve the problem. If we really want to do something to solve the problem, we should just not have people be able to use their phones while driving.”
Keith Perry, a Republican from Gainesville, is usually against such changes in regulations. However, knowing that his daughters of 17 and 20 are out on the roads, he recognizes the seriousness of the issue and has sponsored bill SB 90. He calls this a “public safety issue” and believes that the bill is intending to redirect driving behavior.
In the House, Democratic Representatives Emily Slosberg of Boca Raton and Richard Stark of Weston proposed HB 121. Perry's proposed bill and HB 121 do not match up, but the sponsors said they would work together to advance the bills as they move through the legislature.
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