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Proposed Bill Would Strengthen Texting While Driving Ban In Florida

Posted on November 13, 2013

It took years, but Florida finally got a law on the books that banned texting while driving. However, some critics claimed the law that took effect on October 1 first didn’t go far enough.

The bill that passed made texting while driving a secondary offense. Currently law enforcement can only ticket texting offenders if they have been stopped for some other reason — say, reckless driving.

Many in the law enforcement community made it no secret that they thought the new law might be unenforceable. So far, the number of citations written for offenders has not exactly been spectacular. For instance, a Gainesville Police Department spokesman told WUFT that only 10 citations had been handed out in Alachua County in October. And a majority of those had been handed out to college students.

And those were huge numbers compared to the two citations issued in Marion County and the one citation issued in Levy County.

Recently, Sen. Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) introduced SB 322, a measure that would allow police to treat texting while driving as a primary offense. If passed, the bill would allow law enforcement to stop and cite those they catch texting while driving without the pretense of stopping them for some other offense.

The senator said she would file the bill for the 2014 Florida legislative session.

A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) told News 4 in Jacksonville that the small number of citations that have been issued was more or less expected.

“We had the same issue when seat belt laws were initially passed. It was originally a secondary violation and it took a long time for that enforcement to catch up with the violation,” he stated.

The automobile accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville will be following this measure as it winds its way through the legislature next year. Distracted driving is a growing problem on Florida’s roads and highways and measures taken to curb the practice of texting while driving can only be a positive move.

If you, or if a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, call Farah & Farah at (800) 533-3555 for a free, no-obligation review of your case. Or simply contact us online.