Is a Ban on Texting Possible this Florida Legislative Session?
There are only 15 states remaining that do not have any sort of ban on texting while driving, even though law enforcement and the public understand it is a leading cause of distracted driving. Florida is one of these states, so the St. Petersburg Times asked whether a ban on texting is possible in the upcoming January Florida 60-day legislative session. Every year bills are introduced and every year they are shot down or die in committee, and the Times says a few state senators have proposed a mild ban on texting while driving.
“Mild” means that texting would be a secondary offense that law enforcement could not pull you over for. SB 416 says a driver would only be cited for texting if he was pulled over for a primary offense, such as driving recklessly or speeding. This doesn’t really send a strong message not to text and drive. The Times reports that Republicans generally view texting bans as an intrusion into personal liberty.
In the 2010 session, an outright ban was intentionally put into committee by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and not heard before it was killed.
Under SB 416, a driver would still be allowed to text at a red light, talk on the phone, use a GPS, and dial while driving. Only sending emails and instant messaging (in other words “texting”) would be banned, and a driver would face a $30 fine. If a texting driver got in a crash, six points would be added to his or her driver’s license.
Because SB 416 is mild it may have a better chance of being a first step for Florida to join the majority of states that recognize the need for law enforcement to have some enforcement muscle against texting drivers.
Florida lawmakers likely would have public support for a texting ban as shown by a AAA Foundation 2011 Traffic Safety survey that found about 95 percent of drivers say texting behind the wheel is unacceptable. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cell phone related accident, such as a driver was talking on the phone while behind the wheel and caused the unfortunate crash, call (800) 603-3640 for a no-cost consultation with one of our cell phone accident attorneys in Jacksonville. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.